Ohio Personal Injury Law Blog

Two doctors accused of negligence in failing to diagnose young woman's cancer

With many medical conditions, time is often viewed as either an ally or enemy. When it comes to the diagnosis of cancer, however, timing can literally determine whether an individual lives or dies. Due to its pathology, prompt diagnosis and treatment of cancer is critical to ensuring that abnormal cells are not allowed to spread and affect an individual's lymph system or vital organs. In cases where a doctor fails to diagnose, misdiagnoses or delays the diagnosis of cancer; an individual may suffer tremendous physical and mental injury and even death.

Today, a young Ohio woman must face the reality that she will likely die from the cancer that was allowed to spread from her knee to her lungs. This reality alone is difficult to grasp, but knowing that her chances of survival have been reduced to only 30 percent due to the diagnostic mistakes of two doctors, is almost too much to bear.

Researchers: Medication errors following discharge a real problem

One important thing that might be missing for many people who are being discharged from a hospital is their participation in a course called "Understanding Medications 101" prior to their departure from the facility.

That is a strong takeaway from findings that starkly emerged in a recent study of patients discharged from hospitals following heart attacks and related ailments.

What researchers found is that many people heading out hospital exit doors don't remotely understand the prescription entries they're holding or what exactly it is they're supposed to do with medications after they return home.

Medical error in hospitals: a seemingly intractable problem

Understandably, people in Ohio and nationally were duly concerned 15 years ago upon hearing from an authoritative medical source that about 98,000 patients were dying in hospitals each year from mistakes committed in-house that were entirely preventable.

And that source was wrong.

In fact, that figure provided by the venerable Institute of Medicine in 1999 has since been pointed out as being materially understated. A recent and more widely acknowledged estimate puts a national annual fatality figure owing to preventable errors at about 440,000, a number that many people might simply find mind-numbing.

MD looks to aviation industry to reduce surgical errors

Many of our readers in Ohio and elsewhere are likely impressed by the precision in which the aviation industry seems to go about its business.

That is especially true with the industry’s laser-like focus on safety-related matters. When an error occurs, for instance, it is standard industry practice to instruct airlines across the world what the problem was, why it occurred and what should be done in the future to prevent it.

Central to that aim is the so-called “black box” that accompanies every commercial airplane and serves as a rich repository of accident data in the event of a crash or near miss. The boxes are usually recovered when crashes occur and painstakingly examined for clues into why a mishap occurred and how a recurrence can be avoided.

Environmental-risk counseling for pregnant moms understated?

A dichotomy is instantly revealed in a recent nationwide survey of obstetricians. In opinions culled from 2,500 doctors, nearly 80 percent subscribed to the view that counseling pregnant women on environmental dangers surrounding chemicals and other poisonous substances is important. Notwithstanding that strong convergence of opinion, though, few of those physicians say that they actually bring up that subject matter when they are speaking with their pregnant patients.

What accounts for such an oddity, namely, doctors’ agreement that counseling patients on a given matter confers clear health benefits coupled with a corresponding failure to engage in such counseling?

Some doctors volunteering their opinions in a focus group stated that they simply lacked sufficient knowledge about toxic chemicals and other harmful substances in the environment to address them in a meaningful way with patients. Some physicians feel that bringing up the subject will induce anxiety in pregnant women. Still others say that focusing on more well-known and urgent concerns -- for example, smoking while pregnant or being a pregnant mother with diabetes -- is simply more important.

U.S. Senate is venue for athlete's personal TBI tale

It often takes a personal tale to drive home the ravages of a disease or illness for the general public.

Such is seemingly the case with traumatic brain injuries, with there certainly being no scarcity of stories to tell that put a personal spin on how concussions and other forms of head trauma have materially affected the lives of victims in adverse ways.

Ben Utecht's story is one of those tales, with the ex-football player recounting it late last month to a panel of national politicians at a United States Senate hearing.

Far more than financial considerations drive malpractice actions

A lawyer in a plaintiffs’ medical malpractice law firm related a story recently in a national publication concerning one of his close friends from university days.

That friend, a doctor, summarily rang him up after going through an experience at a hospital following her mother’s emergency admittance there for a medical condition.

While at the hospital, the doctor’s professional intuition sensed that the care her mother was receiving was inappropriate. Specifically, she felt that the wrong meds were being prescribed to her mom, and she brought the medication error to the attention of the prescribing doctor, asking him to revisit the matter.

Medical recommendation: Shelve pelvic exams for most women

The pelvic examinations that scores of millions of women dutifully undergo annually across the country -- reportedly, more than 60 million times a year -- might be on the wane going forward in light of a new report and recommendation urging that their use be curbed.

The authors of that advice belong to a notably prominent medical group, the American College of Physicians (ACP). That organization is now roiling the waters surrounding the long-tenured and widely accepted standard endorsing yearly exams for most women. Indeed, another group -- the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists -- continues to recommend an annual pelvic exam for all women over the age of 21.

Ohio jury finds for mother, son in birth injury case

In a recent medical malpractice trial, an Ohio hospital maintained that an obstetrician and delivery staff members acted properly throughout the birth process of an infant born prematurely and with lasting physical and cognitive impairments.

After due deliberation, an Ohio jury in Cuyahoga County voiced a markedly different conclusion, finding for the birth mother and her now 11-year-old son in a birth injury case that stemmed back to 2004.

Litigation was first filed that year, but dismissed for various reasons without prejudice, meaning that the judicial door remained open for the case to be recommenced.

As a patient, should you opt for the intuitive or fact-based MD?

The above headline posed as a question is a bit of a loaded query. Of course, most patients want a doctor treating them who is both fully up to speed on relevant medical facts (read protocols, best-practice guidelines and standards) and possessed of ample intuition about what he or she is seeing and how it should be treated.

And yet, that intuition needs to be tempered. Fundamentally, it needs to fall back onto the broad back of the hard science that supports it, right onto those just-cited best practices and widely disseminated standards.

Otherwise, you’ve got a dangerous doctor who feels that he or she can freely make diagnostic and treatment determinations based on the so-called “art” of medicine rather than its empirical bedrock.