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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.

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.

Why it can be difficult to file a medical malpractice claim

When a Missouri doctor fails to diagnose a disease or disorder or causes harm to their patient through negligence, the patient can potentially file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor. However, proving fault in these types of cases can be incredibly difficult. In general, the patient will be required to show that the doctor did not meet the proper standard of care.

Many medical malpractice cases proceed under the theory of negligence. In order to be successful in their case, the injured patient must be able to prove that the health care professional had a duty for the patient, that the health care professional did follow the proper standard of care and the deviation directly caused an injury. Usually, the testimony of another expert in the field is used to establish the proper standard of care. If medication was involved, the patient must show that the health care professional failed to follow the manufacturer's instructions or did not warn of all of the potential side effects as listed by the manufacturer. The patient may also demonstrate that the health care professional did not seek consent.

Nondisclosure often required in medical malpractice settlements

People in Missouri seeking redress for medical errors can usually expect a requirement to stay quiet about the details of their cases upon accepting compensation. A review of medical malpractice settlements, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that nondisclosure agreements frequently accompanied settlements, and their requirements could even prohibit discussions with regulators.

The study examined medical malpractice cases that had been resolved at six campuses in a large university system. Approximately 90 percent of the resolved cases included nondisclosure agreements. Looking at the 110 settlements that barred disclosure in some way, the researchers found that all of them prohibited the parties from revealing the terms of each deal or the amount of compensation received.

New protocols required to eliminate culture of silence

It may not always be easy to report when a co-worker does something wrong in the workplace. As a result, Missouri practitioners may not report medical errors they observe, even when reporting an error might save a patient's life.

In a 2005 study, over half of clinical staff and administrators reported witnessing co-workers breaking rules, making mistakes and demonstrating incompetence. However, less than 10 percent of clinical staff in the study reported having confronted a colleague who had taken dangerous shortcuts or used poor clinical judgment. In many health care facilities, a culture of silence is implicitly at work. This lack of communication regarding medical errors may contribute to the almost 200 thousand deaths resulting from preventable medical errors each year.

Shoulder dystocia may be prevented by induced labor

As Missouri parents may know, birth injury due to obstruction is a condition associated with overweight neonates. Recent studies have pointed to benefits derived from induction of labor at 37 to 38 weeks to avoid this problem. The benefits are particularly noticeable when the baby is large for gestational age.

Large infants have a greater incidence of birth injuries, such as shoulder dystocia, which is a particular type of obstructed labor. This occurs when the infant has partially delivered, but either one shoulder or both are caught behind the pubic bone preventing the infant from being born. This may result in damage to the baby's nerves, loss of oxygen and fractures.

Spiral CT scans can cause more harm than good

Missouri residents who smoke may be interested in learning about lung cancer screening tests being offered by Medicare. Individuals who are between the ages of 55 and 77 who have been smoking an average of at least a pack each day for more than 30 years are now eligible to take a spiral CT scan. However, some doctors are expressing concern that there may be downsides to the tests.

While, according to a 2011 study, it may be possible to reduce 20 percent of the 150,000 lung cancer deaths per year through this method, there are other drawbacks to the increase in screenings. One is that the tests may reveal cancers that were never going to be harmful to a patient. This could lead to unnecessary procedures. Additionally, the screenings may lead to other more invasive procedures such as biopsies, which could lead to the possibility for complications.

Alteration of electronic medical records

As some Missouri patients know, electronic medical records are used extensively in the health care industry. Doctors and hospitals use this to document history and physicals, tests, diagnoses and treatment. Such records may be used to defend a physician's choices or actions, but the record might also show a physician's failure to order the proper test, interpret test results and radiologic studies appropriately, or wrongly treat a patient.

EMRs, similar to other computerized documents, are favored for many reasons. Such records must not be altered. One court reminded the defendant that an EMR is what it is and should stand on its merit. In this case, the EMR underwent a process allowing the data to undergo statistical analysis. The plaintiff said that although a urinalysis was ordered, the physician failed to identify an abnormal result. This oversight resulted in kidney disease later on. Since the medical record could not support whether the doctor ordered the test or someone else did, this failure influenced the jury's decision-making process. The plaintiff was awarded $2 million, and the alteration made the EMR useless as a defense document.

Medical malpractice fears spur doctors to order unnecessary tests

In Missouri and across the country, physicians are ordering tests that may be medically unnecessary and might cause actual harm to patients in some cases. About 97 percent of emergency room physicians in a recent study reported that they had ordered advanced imaging scans that were not necessary. They order the scans out of a fear of failure to diagnose a condition that a patient may have.

In some cases, an unnecessary test may yield a false positive, which is a result that indicates that a person has a disease or condition that they do not actually have. Based on the false positive, the patient may receive unnecessary and even harmful biopsies and treatments for a condition that is not present. Another risk is that an unnecessary scan will uncover a condition that is not exhibiting any symptoms. Physicians may consider it negligence to fail to treat the condition even though the treatment may be worse for the patient than the undetected medical condition

Flawed computer-generated alerts

Missouri residents may be interested in a report that hospital medication errors may be happening due to computerized glitches that pervade multiple layers of the typical hospital routine. A study by the Institute of Medicine showed that, of the almost 100,000 patient deaths that occur annually due to medical negligence, many were from medication error. Reasons such as physician penmanship and inaccurate dosing were blamed. In order to combat such failures, hospitals established a computer-driven system to eliminate human error. The system's speed and efficiency is well known, but different problems have replaced the old ones.

Computer alerts warning doctors of medication error, cardiac output or problems with a patient's oxygen level are issued routinely and at an alarming rate. In a 2013 study based in five intensive care units with 66 patients in a well-known teaching hospital, 187 alerts were issued every day per patient totaling 15,000 audible alerts. Such alert fatigue, the study found, led to a hidden practice of ignoring them.

Decreasing the odds of delivery mistakes in Missouri

When a baby dies or is injured during childbirth, it can cause emotional pain for parents. It can also increase liability costs for doctors who deliver babies, and it is one reason why many are being driven out of the profession. However, the rate of injuries and death during childbirth could be dramatically reduced with basic safety programs.

That is the finding of a report from one study that tracked the results of four hospitals over 15 years. One of the issues that was addressed during the safety training was effective communication. Breakdowns in communication were blamed for as many as 65 percent of catastrophic outcomes during childbirth. Another part of the safety training was the implementation of simulated deliveries, which allowed medical professionals to practice emergency situations during childbirth.

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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.