Pitt County parents spend months anticipating the arrival of a new baby. Few parents are prepared for the helpless feelings that occur when something goes wrong during the delivery process. Injuries from shoulder dystocia are rare, but they do happen and may be the result of medical negligence.
According to a study recently published in the Annals of Neurology, serious head injuries may lead to premature brain aging and might contribute to dementia and other serious maladies. By continuing this research and improving upon brain age prediction models, it may become more possible for North Carolina residents and their doctors to detect, prevent and treat a wide range of degenerative diseases.
Concierge medicine began in 2000, and it is available in some North Carolina cities. The largest group concierge medicine practice is MDVIP, which has about 800 physicians in 41 states. Those seeking care from MDVIP physicians pay a membership fee annually. In exchange, patients are promised quick access to their doctor and exceptional care because physicians limit their patient load to ensure adequate time for personalized care.
In a recent highly publicized example of medical error, a Dallas hospital sent home a seriously ill patient who had a travel history to areas of West Africa where the Ebola outbreak has taken thousands of lives. This serious medical error may have been caused by a flaw in the hospital's software system that did not relay the travel history to all medical personnel. These kinds of medical errors can also happen in North Carolina.
North Carolina readers might be interested in the details of a $40 million medical malpractice lawsuit filed in an Oregon court. The suit alleges that hospital doctors and staff were negligent during the birth of a baby boy who was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. According to the complaint, the boy was born at 8:31 a.m. on Dec. 12, 2007. He was 15 days overdue and hospital staff had increased the mother's dosage of labor inducement drugs for 11 hours before telling her to start pushing. The baby's heartbeat dropped to a rate of 60 beats per minute for a period of six minutes, according to the medical malpractice attorney hired by the family.
North Carolina medical patients may want to know the story behind a formerly active 72-year-old left in a vegetative state after his cardiac surgeon allegedly walked off during the operation to attend a luncheon. The man's family was seeking answers about the apparent medical malpractice, in which, they claim, the surgeon left an unqualified physician's assistant to close up the patient's open chest cavity. Complications arose, and the cardiologist was called back from the luncheon, which was up to 30 minutes away. The patient's heart stopped, and serious and irreversible brain damage was the result.
An investigative reporting team joined with a team of producers and reporters from Cox Media Group held outlets to produce an analysis of a huge federal database of government payouts for health-related Department of Veterans Affairs lawsuits and settlements. The result was the discovery of almost 4,500 cases of alleged medical malpractice that the VA settled or lost outright across the U.S. for the preceding decade. Taxpayers reportedly paid out $845 million in these cases.
North Carolina hospitals may join the ranks of facilities offering robot-assisted surgery, but one doctor in Colorado stood accused of promoting the futuristic option to the exclusion of other, possibly safer, methods. Medical malpractice suits could arise from the 10 patients treated by that surgeon using the robotic method between 2008 and 2011. An April 2013 complaint made by the Colorado Medical Board stated that five patients suffered punctured or torn arteries, two had objects temporarily left inside them after surgery and others suffered nerve damage. One patient died and another required cardiopulmonary resuscitation, according to the complaint, which charged the Denver doctor with 14 counts of unprofessional conduct. Included were allegations that he sometimes did not advise patients on alternatives to robotic surgery.
As patients in North Carolina know, medical errors are sadly common in hospitals around the country. Researchers conducting studies on medical errors hope to shed light on how many deaths are the result of medical errors every year. Over the years, different methods used to calculate the number of medical errors have resulted in very different estimates.
Many North Carolina residents may have already heard about the medical malpractice case that occurred recently in Ohio involving a mistakenly discarded donor organ. A family has initiated a lawsuit against the University of Toledo Medical Center claiming that hospital negligence led to one of its nurses throwing away a kidney that had been donated by a 21-year-old brother to his 24-year-old sister, who was suffering from end-stage renal disease.