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Seattle Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Detailing the potential for a stroke misdiagnosis

Many in Seattle may have a good understanding of the pressure that doctors are under to properly diagnose their patients. That pressure may be even greater in the emergency department, where the potentially grave situations physicians encounter force them to make split-second decisions. Still, it is expected that ED doctors exercise all due diligence in examining patients and interpreting their symptoms and results carefully in order to arrive at the right diagnosis.

Misdiagnosis of heart attacks in the ED often make headlines, yet another condition that might not generate the same level of publicity yet is equally as damaging is a stroke. Information compiled by the National Practitioner Data Bank and shared by AHC Media puts the potential of stroke patients being misdiagnosed at 9 percent, as opposed to only 2 percent for heart attack patients.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

If your child has been diagnosed with Erb’s Palsy in Washington, you may be wondering how this happened and what you can do about it. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this condition is actually a birth injury that is caused during a difficult delivery of a breech position or large baby or a delivery in which there was prolonged labor.


Does more money really mean better health care?

You knew that you needed medical care right away when you felt pain in your chest. When you went to the hospital, you told them you had insurance, and the insurance card you presented signified that you were on an adjusted-rate plan. In other words, you're a low-income patient.

To most people who want to see you well, that would not matter, but to an organization that makes money off sick patients, it can mean cutting corners or skipping tests that you would have to pay for out of pocket. The hospital may deem them unnecessary as a way to avoid losing out on the cost of those services, even though you need those tests to get the correct diagnosis.

Medical malpractice payouts in Washington

Are you one of the many Washington residents who may have a concern that your doctor or other health care provider may have made a mistake? If so, you are sadly not alone. According to Diederich Healthcare, the state saw almost $69 million paid out in medical malpractice claims in 2014 alone. 

Of the claims paid in 2014, 30 percent involved a patient's death and 35 percent involved permanent injury identified as either major or significant. Another 13 percent of people experienced injuries that left them requiring care for life, with a brain injury or without the use of their arms or legs. Claims involving obstectrics were involved in 11 percent of paid cases while treatment problems were associated with another 19 percent. While surgical errors accounted for 24 percent of claims paid, it was errors related to diagnoses that affected the biggest number of cases as 30 percent related to this factor.

Recognizing surgical site infections

Countless Seattle residents seek surgical treatment from the area's hospitals and medical centers every year. Sadly, some of them (or members of their families) end up coming to see us here at Miracle Pruzan and Pruzan after having acquired serious infections from their surgeries. Such complications can easily produce life-altering consequences or even death. Often, it may be impossible to avoid suffering impairments from a surgical site infection that you acquire. However, identifying it early may help to mitigate its effects.

SSIs occur when disease-causing bacteria are introduced into the skin, muscles, tissues or organs directly involved in your surgical procedure. The most common types of bacteria associated with these complications include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Pseudomonas. In many cases, the transmission of these bacteria occurs through contact with a caregiver or the use of a contaminated surgical instrument. It is for this reason that research data shared by SafeCareCampaign.org estimates that between 40 to 60 percent of SSIs are preventable through proper infection control techniques such as following instrument sterilization standards or recognized hand washing and/or glove use protocols.

What are some signs of nursing home neglect?

While many nursing homes and assisted living communities in Seattle strive to provide top care to residents, in some cases nursing home abuse or neglect can be a very serious issue. If you have a family currently residing in a nursing, knowing the common signs that neglect or abuse are taking place is crucial. That way you can address the issue head-on and get your loved one the help that he or she needs.

According to NextAvenue.com, there are a few common signs that indicate a real deficiency in the level of care afforded by a nursing home. For instance, the conditions within the home can be a good indicator of the overall quality of care. Unsanitary living areas (such as in kitchens or bathrooms) point to staff who are not invested in providing residents with clean living spaces. Not only can this greatly degrade one’s quality of life, it can also pose a health issue to those with compromised immune systems.

Understanding brain aneurysms

Many Washington residents feel that they have good realtionships with their doctors or other health care providers. In some cases this may be because they have never really encountered a serious medical issue. A patient's relationship with a physician can be put to the test when unusual symptoms arise and the root problem may not be easy to diagnose. It is then that a person gets a good sense of a doctor's skills.

A brain aneurysm is one thing that may be hard to diagnose in part because people with these aneurysms may not always exhibit noticeable symptoms according to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. Even when symptoms are present, they may be things that a doctor might all too easily attribute to some other problem. Examples include headaches, pupils that appear dilated, drooped eyelids, pain in the eye area or the neck as well as speech and vision problems.

Heart attacks in women may be missed

With the prevalence of heart disease in America today, it is important for people in Washington to have a good understanding of some of the signs of a potential heart attack. It is also very important for people to know that the symptoms of a heart attack often vary quite a bit between men and women.

In fact, the Women's Heart Foundation says that in many cases, a heart attack in a woman may be incorrectly identified as a panic attack. This type of misdiagnosis can have very severe consequences for people. The reason that this may happen is because some of the symptoms of a heart attack in women are very similar to those of a panic attack.

Doctor-caused cerebral palsy will impact your family for life

Pregnancy is a time of heightened emotions and physical strain. Many women spend these months dreaming of the child they will soon give birth to. Very few imagine that the child they are carrying will develop serious medical issues because of a doctor's mistake.

Unfortunately, it does happen. Doctors are humans and prone to making poor decisions, just like everyone else. In some cases, a doctor may choose to not monitor fetal vital signs early in labor, meaning that infant distress isn't discovered until it is too late. In other cases, delays and small mistakes can result in catastrophic medical damage.

Forgotten cellphone and pager contributes to baby’s brain damage

For all of the education and clinical training required of the doctors and surgeons currently practicing in Seattle’s clinics, hospitals and medical centers, it should be remembered that such professionals are still only human, and thus are subject to mistakes just like everyone else. The trouble is that their errors can have potentially devastating consequences that dramatically alter the lives of their patients. If and when such mistakes occur, those affected by them may not only want to know why, but may also be put in the position of being forced to seek compensation in order to effectively deal with the expenses that they produce.

The family of a young girl in Illinois is currently being made to deal with the consequences of a mistake made by one of the doctors tasked with her and her mother’s care during her delivery, even though his error had nothing to do with any care that they received. While she was still in labor, the girl’s mother and her attending nurse noticed a large pool of blood accumulating in her bed. It was later discovered that the child had suffered a fetal vessel rupture, which resulted in her losing almost 60 percent of her blood and caused her heart to stop. Even after her delivery, there were delays in her receiving more blood and being transferred to another facility. The net result was that the child suffered massive brain damage.