Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Undiagnosed meningococcal meningitis in young ones can be deadly

Residents of Pittsburgh who have children know how many worries these children can bring. Parents often worry about whether their babies have adequate growth, if what appears to be a cold is actually something serious, if their child has a learning disability and a million other worries. But when a serious medical condition is missed because of a failure to diagnose it can quickly become a parent's worst nightmare.

Meningococcal meningitis is a serious bacterial infection that generally affects babies and young children but can affect anyone. If babies do not receive a timely diagnosis of this condition it can lead to a worsened condition and even death. Serious complications can cause brain damage, deafness and other neurological problems.

Neonatal coarctation of the aorta is frequently missed

New parents in Pittsburgh are often overjoyed at their new arrival. They have been filled with excited anticipation for months prior to their baby's arrival. But while most babies arrive healthy, occasionally there is a failure to diagnose of a major medical problem.

Coarctation of the aorta is one such condition that is commonly missed before the baby arrives or after it is born. Coarctation of the aorta is a narrowing of the aorta, the main blood vessel carrying blood from the heart. When there is coarctation, the left ventricle has to work harder. If the coarctation is severe it can lead to congestive heart failure or not enough blood flowing to other organs of the body.

Have you been affected by a failure to diagnose cancer?

Many Pittsburgh residents have been affected by cancer in some way--whether by a family member being diagnosed, a close friend or even themselves. When a doctor says that you have cancer it can sound like the worst thing that has ever happened. But occasionally, not hearing a proper diagnosis can be even worse. Negligence can occur when a physician has fails to diagnose cancer in one of his or her patients.

Have you been a victim of medical malpractice?

For those who have spent time in a doctor's office, the thought of any type of medical error may never have crossed their mind. Unfortunately, such instances do occur and while one can hopefully go a lifetime without experiencing such an event, knowing how to identify some commons signs of medical malpractice can help deal with the issue in a more efficient manner.

One sign that you have been the victim of medical malpractice is that the treatment you have received isn't working. This can be a sign of medical misdiagnosis. The actual medical problem that you have may be progressing into a worsened medical condition or the unnecessary surgery or medication is causing serious injury.

Medication errors that can be dangerous

Most Pittsburgh residents will take a prescription medication at some time in their lives. Many will need numerous prescription medications to maintain their health. Accordingly, it is important to keep in mind some of the more common medication errors that can be made and cause serious injury.

One of the most common prescription medication errors is mixing medications that interact badly with each other. There are several general groups that don't mix together well including oral contraceptives and antibiotics, pain killers and over the counter vitamins and supplements, and nasal decongestants with people who have high blood pressure. The next mistake is mixing drugs and alcohol. Alcohol reacts adversely with many medications including pain and anxiety medication, Tylenol, antibiotics and antihistamines.

Doctors may be making medication errors for ADHD

Many parents in the Pittsburgh area have a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD. In recent years, better screening procedures and more awareness have led to an increase in the number of kids who have been diagnosed. But a study has recently been released saying that some kids are receiving the wrong medication and suffering from medication errors and strong side effects.

The medications that are used to treat ADHD can be strong and intense. But a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association has some disturbing results. It shows that in many preteens and teenage kids, boys especially, doctors are prescribing anti-psychotic medications. These medications are intended to be used on people who have schizophrenia, bipolar disease and other brain disorders, not for ADHD. Antipsychotic medications have major side effects that can cause serious injury to kids. Side effects can include severe weight gain and the dulling of emotions. Traditional ADHD medication, like Ritalin, are stimulants that have been FDA-approved to use in kids. Antipsychotic medications are not approved for kids with behavioral issues and can have long-term side effects.

Pittsburgh hospital now offering online ratings

Many Pittsburgh residents use the internet to check out restaurants, service providers, motels and other businesses. There are many online services that provide ratings and reviews of these services, which can be valuable for consumers. A Pittsburgh hospital is jumping on the bandwagon by offering online ratings of its doctors. Errors such as a failure to diagnose could be part of the review that patients can leave for their medical provider.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) will be posting patient satisfaction surveys on its doctors and other medical providers. The reviews will also include a star rating from one to five stars based on patient satisfaction. These ratings are based on over 200,000 reviews of 1,600 providers that have been collected by UPMC. A provider will qualify for a ranking if they have over 30 reviews collected. Providers will include doctors, nurse practitioners, midwives and others.

Less care better for end-stage cancer patients facing death?

Many Pittsburgh residents have a family member or friend who has suffered from a cancer diagnosis. Because of the excellent medical care offered in Pittsburgh, many of those afflicted with cancer are able to go into remission. But not all cancers can be cured and thousands of people throughout the country die each year from cancer. According to a new study, less care for those who have end-stage cancer may be better for the patient up until their death.

The study by JAMA Oncology found that for patients who are in the final stages of cancer, chemotherapy does not offer any medical benefit. It also does not increase the patient's quality of life. Many patients who are given chemotherapy at the end of their life have a decrease in their quality of life. Many oncologists believe that there is no harm in trying another chemotherapy regimen, but for many patients there is harm. Chemotherapy should only be given if it will extend a patient's life or make their life better.

Birth Injuries: what is Pennsylvania birth asphyxia?

Expectant parents in Pittsburgh are anxious and excited about the upcoming birth of their child. A new family member is one of the most momentous occasions in a family's life. Most births go as planned, but occasionally, an unexpected birth injury occurs. These can be scary and traumatic for families as full trust is often put into medical providers.

One birth injury that can occur is called birth asphyxia. Birth asphyxia happens when the baby does not receive adequate oxygen before, during or right after birth. The brain and other organs do not receive enough oxygen, which can result in a serious injury that may cause permanent damage.

A baby with jaundice needs to be diagnosed immediately

Every year, thousands of Pittsburgh parents welcome a new baby into their lives. Most of the time, these babies arrive with no issues and are healthy. But, occasionally, a baby has a medical issue that needs to be identified. One such issue is jaundice. The failure to diagnose a jaundiced baby can lead to a worsened condition.

Many babies are born with a condition known as jaundice. Jaundice is when the baby’s blood has an excessive level of bilirubin, which is a pigment of red blood cells. Babies with jaundice often have a yellowish tint. The babies have jaundice because their liver is not able to get rid of the excess bilirubin in the bloodstream. It typically happens to babies who are born before 38 weeks. The treatment for jaundice can include placing the baby under a special light (phototherapy). This can break down the bilirubin into a substance that can be excreted in the baby’s urine and stool. In extreme cases, a baby may need an exchange of blood. This is when small amounts of blood are withdrawn, the bilirubin and maternal antibodies are diluted and the blood is transferred back into the baby.

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