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Kansas City MO Personal Injury Law Blog

About Monsees & Mayer Missouri Lawyers

The attorneys at Monsees & Mayer handle cases where people have been injured. If you need a lawyer for personal injury representation in Missouri or Kansas, call 866.774.3233. http://www.mmmpalaw.com

Health conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed

Doctors in Missouri do not always have the right answers when they are asked to diagnose a patient's condition. If the right tests are not performed, a correct diagnosis could elude a patient for months or even years. Patients who are misdiagnosed with conditions that they do not actually have may continue to suffer from their original condition while experiencing adverse side effects from unnecessary medications.

According to a doctor and author of the book 'Thyroid Power," thyroid disorders may be the most misdiagnosed conditions. Every cell in the human body is affected by thyroid hormone, so a variety of different symptoms can emerge when it is off balance. Another commonly misdiagnosed condition is celiac disease, which causes patients to experience allergies to gluten. People with celiac disease often have gastrointestinal symptoms, but they can also display symptoms like dental enamel defects and anemia. Other commonly misdiagnosed health problems include Lyme disease, lupus and fibromyalgia.

Understanding Lyme disease misdiagnosis

Missouri residents may want to learn more about how problematic the misdiagnosis of Lyme disease can be. A 2015 study published by LymeDisease.org revealed that over 60 percent of more than 6,000 respondents with the disease claimed that it took up to two years to receive a correct diagnosis for their condition. Less than 25 percent reported receiving a correct diagnosis within six months after the first onset of potential symptoms.

Nearly 50 percent of the respondents in the survey said that their medical tests were delayed or denied because Lyme disease was not a part of their physician's expertise. About half of the respondents were reportedly ill for over a decade because of the disease. Almost 75 percent of the patients described their own heath as being either in fair or poor condition. Lyme disease is usually most devastating when patients are unable to receive treatment during its early stages.

New COPD guidelines may lead to misdiagnosis for some patients

Missouri residents may be surprised to learn that new guidelines for diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, may be causing older men to be over-diagnosed and young women to be under-diagnosed, according to new research. The authors of the study, which was published in the journal The BMJ in July, recommend that the guidelines be modified to correct the issues.

According to the study, up to 13 percent of people diagnosed with COPD, the third deadliest disease in the United States, using the new guidelines have been misdiagnosed. In 2001, the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease, or GOLD, established a new diagnostic threshold for determining airway obstruction as an alternative for the old threshold, known as the "lower limits of normal," or LLN. As a comparison, the GOLD threshold estimates COPD prevalence to be around 22 percent in people over the age of 40 in the United Kingdom while the LLN threshold estimates it to be around 13 percent. Meanwhile, the GOLD definition misses one in eight cases of airflow obstruction in young women when compared to the LLN criteria.

Medical malpractice award after anesthesiologist mocks patient

Missouri residents and medical practitioners may want to take note of a recent Virginia case that resulted in a $500,000 judgement on behalf of the defendant. The medical malpractice portion alone was responsible for $200,000 of the award. Defamation resulted in another $100,000, and an additional $200,000 was awarded for punitive damages. The case is based on an audio recording on the patient's phone, which he reportedly used to record verbal instructions given prior to a colonoscopy.

The patient unintentionally recorded the entire procedure, having accidentally left the recording feature on. Although lawyers for the defendant noted that the physician had not given consent to be recorded, Virginia, like Missouri, is a one-party consent state, making the recording legal. The comments made by the professional, an anesthesiologist, involved mocking as well as suggestions that hemorrhoids be falsely documented on the patient's chart.

Nursing home negligence and dementia

Missouri nursing home patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia are at a high risk for injuries related to their condition. Nursing homes are required to comply with an appropriate standard of care to prevent the risk of harm to these vulnerable patients. A patient with dementia may experience symptoms such as confusion, delusions, agitation and difficulty with self-care that severely limit or prevent them from living at home, making nursing home care a necessity.

The standard of care for nursing homes requires that the facility develop an individualized care plan for each patient that is appropriate to protect the patient's health and safety. The plan must be carefully followed on a day-to-day basis, and the nursing home must regularly revise the plan in consideration of changes in the patient's condition to make sure that it still meets the patient's needs.

Medication alerts often ignored by health care workers

Initiatives to have electronic health records used by hospitals and other health care providers have given rise to a behavior called alert fatigue. Many health care workers in Missouri and around the country tend to ignore the numerous warnings that pop up while using electronic health records, especially when entering information about medications. Many of the alerts are associated with potential drug allergies or negative drug interactions. They pop up so frequently that health care workers often skip them in order to continue filling out the electronic record.

A system IT pharmacist from Hospital Sisters Health System, who has been testing software that allows health care workers to customize their electronic systems to cut down on alerts, said that alert fatigue creates a large risk to patient safety. In some places, people override 96 percent of electronic alerts while doing their work.

Some of the causes of surgical errors

Missouri surgical patients may want to take note of the findings in a recent Mayo Clinic study on the causes of some surgical errors that are called 'never events" because they are not supposed to occur. The researchers examined 69 never events that took place out of 1.5 million procedures that had been performed at the facility over a five-year period, and they identified 628 human factors that contributed to the errors. The never events observed included wrong site and wrong procedure surgeries, wrong implant procedures and foreign objects left in the patient.

Preconditions for action, such as distractions, overconfidence and fatigue were the first identified category of mistakes that lead to surgical errors. Unsafe actions were another category comprising perceptual errors and confirmation bias. Oversight and supervisory factors included inadequate supervision and planning problems. Organizational influences also caused errors and pointed to problems with the hospital's organizational culture or operational processes.

The prevalence of incorrect antibiotic use

Missouri residents may not be aware of a recent study that found that misdiagnoses often causes physicians to use inappropriate antibiotic therapies in hospitals. Using antibiotics incorrectly can not only reduce the effectiveness of these drugs and increase health care costs, but may lead to patient harm as well. It has been found that approximately 56 percent of American hospital inpatients receive antibiotic therapies, but the study has revealed that antibiotics are only appropriately used in nearly half of those cases.

The researchers conducted a study of 500 different inpatient cases at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. They discovered that 95 percent of patients who had a misdiagnosis, an indeterminate diagnosis or no diagnosis at all received inappropriate antibiotic treatment. Conversely, 38 percent of patients who received a proper diagnosis received incorrect antibiotic treatments.

Missouri patients may have better experiences with more education

The communication between a patient and his or her health care provider can play a key role in a positive relationship, and it has been found that proper education in advance may influence a patient's overall experience after a surgical procedure has taken place. The expectations a patient has seem to be particularly affected by what and how much information the health care provider made available.

In a recent survey, Gallup researchers evaluated the results of questions posed to patients scheduled for surgery regarding the information provided to them prior to it taking place. The questions pertained to whether or not the patient felt prepared for post-surgery conditions. The majority of the patients involved indicated that they managed post-surgery details according to the education and instructions they received from their health care provider, suggesting that the quality of the information given could significantly impact the overall experience. Researchers believe that the results demonstrated that greater satisfaction following surgery correlated with how well the health care provider prepared the patient for what to expect. In this survey, however, less than 40 percent of the patients felt strongly that they had been adequately educated.

Amtrak train derailment: 7 dead, hundreds injured

On Tuesday, May 12, an Amtrak train carrying 238 passengers and five crew members derailed in Philadelphia. Officials report that at the time of the derailment, the train was traveling at 106 MPH. The derailment occurred as the train entered a curve in the tracks which officials say has a posted speed limit of 50 MPH. Currently, a total of seven individuals have been identified as being killed in the horrific accident and more than 200 injured. News reports indicate that several passengers are also still missing.

For residents and visitors in the Northeastern U.S., Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is a popular and heavily traveled route that runs between Washington and Boston. According to Amtrak's website, on a daily basis more than 2,200 trains operate on these tracks and during 2013 alone, Amtrak reports that 11.4 million people traveled on trains between Washington and Boston.

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About Monsees & Mayer Missouri Lawyers

The attorneys at Monsees & Mayer handle cases where people have been injured. If you need a lawyer for personal injury representation in Missouri or Kansas, call 866.774.3233. http://www.mmmpalaw.com