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Posted by on Apr 4, 2014 in Medical Mistakes | 0 comments

Cerebral Palsy: A Birth Injury that Can Forever Change the Life of a Child

The overall health of a pregnant woman, as well as that of the unborn child inside her womb, is under the care of an Obstetrician, or OB/Gyn, a medical professional, especially trained to manage pregnancy, labor and birth. Thus, it is part of an Obstetrician’s duty to know what medications can and cannot be prescribed to a pregnant woman (or anyone expecting who may be under his/her care), as there are prescription drugs that may cause side effects that can result to severe health conditions in the mother and/or unborn child.

Likewise, any vice that the pregnant woman has, such as smoking, drinking, use of illegal drugs (and even over-eating) should be checked and stopped by an OB/Gyn to ensure the good health, especially, of the child yet to be born; if not stopped, the toxins coming from any of these vices can result to a serious birth injury that may change the life of the unborn for the rest of his/her life.

Besides the time spent inside his/her mother’s womb, an equally critical time for the child is the time of delivery. Many errors have been committed in delivery rooms (in the past) due to the carelessness and negligence of the team, or any of its members, managing the delivery process. A couple of these errors are injecting a wrong dose of anesthesia or clamping the head, with the use of forceps, quite tightly that the flow of oxygen to the baby’s head is temporarily obstructed.

The years prior to 1980, doctors believed that the deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain during labor or birth, which is known as asphyxia, caused a birth injury called cerebral palsy. This injury is a result of an abnormality in the brain development of an unborn child, resulting to loss of motor function impairment in muscle coordination. Thousands of children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every year. The condition makes walking, playing, eating, talking and playing quite difficult for a child.

Rather than asphyxia as being the major cause of brain injury that leads to CP, scientists discovered that abnormality in the brain development may be caused either by bleeding inside the brain or Intracranial Hemorrhage, which is usually the result of a stroke, or Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL), a lack of oxygen that causes severe damage to brain cells, which can be caused by use of illegal drugs, very low blood pressure, infection or very low blood pressure.

Birth injuries often happen because of improper care or failure of a doctor to provide reasonable level of care. This is why patients are afforded the legal right to seek justice by filing lawsuits against their doctors to see the level of responsibility doctors have behind the injury.

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Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Medical Mistakes | 3 comments

Some Measures that will Help Reduce Instances of Surgical Errors

The long and rigorous training undergone by medical professionals plus the national medical licensing examination that they have to pass, in order to earn the license that will allow them to practice their profession, should be more than enough to make them worthy recipients of the trust of every patient who they take under their care. In return, however, doctors are legally obliged to provide nothing less than the best care to all their patients.

Best care includes timely treatment, accurate diagnosis, correct medication and safe surgical procedure, if ever surgery becomes necessary, that is, if and when all other forms of treatment and medication fail. But, as there have been numerous reports of medical malpractice or errors, so have there been thousands of cases of surgical mistakes. A research on patient safety conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that, in the US, incidences wherein surgeons operate on wrong body sites, perform wrong procedures or accidentally leave a foreign object inside a patient’s body, such as forceps or a sponge, happen, at least, 20 times every week (for each incidence). There have cases too wherein a kidney had been removed from a wrong patient, a good kidney that was ready for transplant had been thrown accidentally into a waste basket, the wrong leg or arm had been amputated plus, as stated in the website of Massachusetts law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP,  other internal organs being injured, and many other complications occurring due to negligence in providing quality post-operative care.

The effects of these erroneous surgeries are serious, some even leading to a patient’s untimely death. Surgical mistakes are avoidable, though, and have been identified as “never events.” Yet, despite the advocacies and other measures taken to quell these, all efforts seem to have failed, (and continue to fail) as the number of mistakes still continue to go beyond 4,000 every year.

Making sure that the right patient is on the operating table, re-checking the record that identifies the exact site to be operated on or which limb needs to be amputated, making sure that an X-ray is not flipped, re-checking information vital to the surgery and giving final instructions to nurse attendants (before surgery), making sure that all tools and materials used in the surgery are accounted for before stitching, are just some of the extra measures that doctors can and should observe to help lessen incidences of surgical errors, in particular, and medical malpractice, in general.

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