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Seattle Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Can heart failure be improperly diagnosed?

Washington residents with heart-related problems may go in to get some tests run in order to see exactly what those problems are. But did you know that misdiagnosing heart attacks is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice? Here's what you should know about the diagnosis of heart failure and other heart-related ailments.

First of all, yes: according to the American Heart Association, heart failure can be improperly diagnosed. This can happen for many reasons. Some of the most common include:

  • Not performing the correct test
  • Misinterpreting symptoms
  • Missing symptoms entirely
  • Getting back false positives or negatives on a test that isn't foolproof

Some birth injuries are completely preventable

Birth injuries occur due to various causes. Some birth injuries are completely unavoidable, but others, approximately 33 percent, happen due to hospital or medical staff negligence or mistakes. While it is sometimes impossible to avoid certain health conditions of the mother or the fetus, unless they are due to a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, other conditions are completely preventable.

The Department of Human Health and Services estimates that the number one cause of brith injuries falls directly on the shoulders of the birthing team. In other words, the attending doctor, nurses and other staff that participate in the birth process are the top cause of the majority of birth injuries. Furthermore, it is often communication issues amongst the team that lead to these injuries.

What are pain and suffering damages?

If you are a Washington resident who was injured in an accident or as the result of medical or other malpractice, you may be thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries. As FindLaw explains, in Washington you can recover not only your economic damages, but also your noneconomic damages for pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering are subjective, not objective. Nevertheless, they are very real. Consequently, damages for pain and suffering are the law’s attempt to compensate you for subjective losses such as the following that you have suffered:

  • Any disfigurement or disability resulting from your injury
  • Any mental anguish and/or emotional distress you are suffering as a result of your injury
  • Any loss of consortium resulting from your injury, such as your inability to have sexual relations with your spouse
  • Any humiliation or damage to your reputation you are suffering from because of your injury

What should you know about bed sores?

Seattle residents who have to spend an extended amount of time on bed rest may experience bed sores. However, despite the mentions that this issue gets, many people don't actually know what having bed sores entails.

Mayo Clinic defines bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, as being the result of extensive pressure on certain areas of the body. This pressure doesn't have to be very strong. It simply has to be continuous, which is why it's known as a "bed sore". Generally speaking, when you're on bed rest, you aren't moving around much. Lying in one spot for so long will be enough pressure to cause these sores in some people. Extended friction or shear can also cause these sores.

A warning to women about heart attack symptoms

Heart disease is a serious problem that takes the lives of far too many people across the country each year. Stress, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits and genetics are just some of the factors that can cause people to suffer a heart attack. Since a heart attack can be a life-threatening and time-sensitive emergency, it is crucial that doctors diagnose and treat heart problems as soon as possible. It is also important for Washington residents to understand the symptoms of a heart attack.

For women, recognizing a possible heart attack may not always be easy. Many people are aware of the common heart attack symptoms, which can include crushing chest pain, pain or discomfort that radiates to the extremities, stomach pain, sweating, nausea and heart palpitations. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of an impending heart attack might also include anxiety or lightheadedness.

What is umbilical cord compression and can it hurt my baby?

As you probably know, the umbilical cord is an important structure during pregnancy that delivers oxygen and nutrients to your unborn baby. In most pregnancies and deliveries, everything is fine with the umbilical cord. However, you and other pregnant women in Washington might not realize that mild umbilical cord compression occurs at least once in many pregnancies. In some cases, a compression of the umbilical cord might cause complications, including the risk of brain damage to the baby.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, about one in every 10 deliveries involve mild umbilical cord compression. This occurs when the baby’s weight or labor contractions press on the cord, temporarily slowing or cutting off oxygen and nutrients. Usually, the compression is relieved within moments and no harm is done. During labor, your baby will be monitored for signs of distress, such as a decreased heart rate due to prolonged cord compression. If this occurs, you doctor may try to relieve the compression or perform an emergency C-section.

Mistakes any doctor can make

Whether you have to go to the emergency room or visit your general practitioner in Seattle for a routine check up, you place a great deal of faith in doctors and other medical staff. You trust them to correctly diagnose any ailment you might suffer from or to prescribe the correct medicine. We sometimes forget that even doctors sometimes make mistakes.

Unfortunately, a minor mistake might turn into a serious matter or even be fatal.

What is wrongful death?

Losing a family member unexpectedly can be one of the most heartbreaking things you go through in life. It is even worse if your loved one’s death was due to someone’s negligence and could have been prevented. You and other Washington residents may rightly want to know what qualifies as wrongful death and if you might be able to get compensation.

The Balance defines wrongful death as a fatality that occurs when someone was in some way negligent or involved in misconduct. Common forms of wrongful death include vehicular accidents in which the responsible party was intoxicated, driving recklessly or engaging in road rage. A wrongful death case might be related to professional misconduct, such as a doctor or nurse making a mistake that led to your family member’s death. If an armed robbery occurred and your loved one was shot and killed, that might also count as wrongful death.

Who can be involved in a medical malpractice claim?

If you are like many people who live in Washington State, when you  hear about or think about a medical malpractice claim, you may automatically think about a doctor or a surgeon as being the individuals against which an action has been initiated. While certainly these professionals may well be the subject of such claims, they are far from the only options you have when it becomes necessary for you to seek compensation after a medical error.

As explained by the Washington State Legislature, you may even pursue action for compensation or damages from an entity or health care business as well as from an individual. This might include a nursing home, a medical clinic, hospital or even a health maintenance organization. In addition, your effort to be compensated for a medical mistake may be directed at an employee of various levels including directors or executives of any of these types of businesses.

Helpful tips to prevent surgical errors

Every year, thousands of mistakes are made in hospitals across the country. If you are preparing to have surgery in one of Washington’s hospitals soon, you might understandably worry that you could contract an infection, suffer a post-surgical complication or become a victim of a medical error. At Miracle Pruzan & Pruzan, we would like to help you avoid surgical errors whenever possible.

The scope of medical errors is unfortunately widespread. One out of every seven patients on Medicare suffers a medical error, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. What measures can you take to keep something bad from happening to you during your stay in the hospital, or soon after you go home?

  • Before your surgery, go over the procedure with your doctor and make sure you understand what is entailed, as well as what to do during your recovery.
  • If possible, choose a hospital with experience in the procedure you will have, as well as a good track record overall.
  • Let your doctor know about any medications and supplements you are taking, and double-check all prescriptions with your pharmacist. Understand the possible side effects and make sure you know how much medication to take and how often.
  • Have a family member or friend you trust come with you to your appointments and visit your room post-surgery so you have someone to help if you need it.
  • Educate yourself on your upcoming procedure so you know what to expect and how to recognize any complications that might arise.