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Seattle Medical Malpractice Law Blog

How can emergency department crowding affect your care?

Washington residents like you rely on hospitals when you need the care. If you require immediate attention for seemingly severe or acute issues, you have the emergency department to turn to. But lately, these departments are finding themselves overburdened and understaffed at great risk to you.

The National Institutes of Health highlight a growing issue in hospitals: the high volume of patients in an emergency department at any given time. In fact, they cite one case in specific in which the emergency department was filled to 250% capacity.

What is vaginal birth after cesarean?

Under certain circumstances, a woman who has previously delivered a baby via cesarean section can give birth to her second child, and any subsequent children, by vaginal delivery. If you are expecting a new baby in Washington and the idea of vaginal birth after cesarean appeals to you, ask your doctor if you are a good candidate. VBAC is not for everyone, and there are risks as well as potential benefits involved. 

In the past, doctors and hospitals refused to attempt a vaginal delivery with a mother who had already had one child via cesarean. Since medical knowledge and surgical techniques have advanced since that time, many doctors, clinics and hospitals, though not all of them, now attempt VBAC with women whom they deem to be good candidates. Today, according to WebMD, most VBAC attempts are successful. However, an unsuccessful VBAC attempt is a medical emergency requiring urgent C-section. Some hospitals lack the capability to handle that type of situation, so they do not allow VBAC attempts at all. Therefore, if you are considering VBAC, be sure to find out whether the facility will permit it.

Heart attack symptoms in men versus women

Washington residents have a certain level of personal risk for having a heart attack. However, the symptoms in heart attacks can differ hugely from person to person. This can potentially lead to misdiagnoses that may be fatal.

Verywell Health shows that men and women experience heart attacks differently, and that they may be slightly easier to pinpoint in men because of the more "classic" symptoms. Women, on the other hand, experience symptoms that aren't typically talked about. This can include:

  • Shortness of breath or sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, or back

Kidney inaccurately removed during surgery

People in Washington State who consent to undergo planned surgeries should receive a thorough explanation of what will take place during their operations, especially if they are expected to be sedated and not awake during the events. This knowledge and overview may help reduce a person's anxiety as it provides them some confirmation of what is going to happen. However, there may be times when a surgeon does not do what was explained.

In some situations, a medical emergency may warrant a different course of action. However, in other situations, surgical errors may be the root cause of different actions or outcomes. An example of this can be seen in the case of a woman in Florida. In 2016, the woman was admitted to the hospital for a surgery on her back. One surgeon was supposed to open her up and two other surgeons were supposed to perform the operation.

Birth injuries and birth defects: What's the difference?

If your baby is born with a serious health issue, the most important thing on your mind is to get your baby feeling better -- and recovering from the health problem -- as quickly as possible. The thing is, health care for your baby could be extremely expensive and unaffordable if you're not extremely wealthy.

If you want to find out whether you can pursue a claim for damages against a responsible party, you'll want to investigate the circumstances of how and when your baby's health condition developed. For these purposes, you'll want to determine whether your baby is dealing with a birth injury or a birth defect.

Remote patient monitoring concerns highlighted

Most people in Washington State might assume that after undergoing an operation they would be monitored by health care professionals in person. It seems, however, that not all post-surgical care is actually delivered in this manner.

As reported by National Public Radio, there is a special type of intensive care unit called an electronic intensive care unit that features a collection of electronic monitoring devices setup to track a patient's status. These devices are in turn monitored by actual people in an offsite location. A new documentary recounts one case in which a woman was put into one of these eICUs after having surgery to replace a hip.

Heart mishap highlights gaps in donation process

People in Washington State who may themselves be in need of an organ transplant or who have loved ones waiting for new organs know all too well the importance of the human life. For many people on the wait list for a new organ, the receipt of such organ may literally be the difference between life and death. It would only stand to reason, then, that the process by which these organs are identified and transported be error-free as time matters greatly in many of these situations.

Sadly, a report by The Seattle Times highlights the fact that this process is anything but error-free and one recent incident that illustrates this happened in Seattle just a few weeks ago. A heart was en route to Seattle from Sacramento and actually made it to Seattle. However, instead of being taken off the plane and delivered to the appropriate organization, the heart took off from SeaTac Airport and began its journey to Dallas.

What are the four types of cerebral palsy?

When a child in Washington has cerebral palsy, it may be present at birth but go undetected for months or even a year or more. One of the key indicators that your baby may have cerebral palsy is a failure to meet developmental milestones like crawling, walking or rolling over.

The condition affects muscle tone and movement due to brain abnormalities. According to WebMD, there are four different types of cerebral palsy, categorized by the type of movement involved, and some of these also involve several subtypes. 

Failure to diagnose is leading cause of malpractice suits

According to findings published in LiveScience, failure to diagnose is the number one cause of medical malpractice suits, accounting for 26 to 63 percent of all claims. The second most common cause of malpractice lawsuits is medication errors, such as adverse drug reactions and prescription errors. Researchers emphasize that individuals should not confuse malpractice suits with medical errors, which make up the vast majority of malpractice claims in Washington and throughout the United States.

The study sought to identify the most common causes of malpractice claims and what doctors can do to prevent adverse events from happening. The medical director at The Doctors Company, the largest medical malpractice insurance company in the nation, cited heart attacks in women as one of the most commonly misdiagnosed events. Women are much less likely to exhibit typical symptoms of heart attack than men. For instance, instead of chest and arm pain, women may complain of gastrointestinal problems.

Get a second opinion to avoid a misdiagnosis

As a patient with an injury or illness, you want to make sure you get the right care to resolve the problems you face. You go to your medical provider, and you make sure that your provider diagnoses the issue. The provider sends out the findings to get lab results or the opinion of other medical teams, too.

The problem occurs when paperwork gets mixed up or when the wrong diagnosis is made based on the evidence. A patient could then go through an unnecessary treatment or a treatment that doesn't resolve the problems they're dealing with.

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