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Houston Medical Malpractice Law Blog

If your OB told you your infant suffers from asphyxia neonatorum

Toward the end of a pregnancy, most Texas mothers feel at least a bit of anxiety about the labor and delivery process. Even women who have had a child before know that this is a critical time for them and their babies since this is when things can go wrong. 

One of the largest concerns in any birthing process is whether the baby continues to get enough oxygen. Even a few minutes without adequate oxygen could lead to a number of long-term issues such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays and even epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Due to the potential risks, the medical team attending your birth should be on the lookout for any signs of asphyxia neonatorum.

The severity of Erb's palsy can dictate harm suffered

Newborn babies are extremely fragile. It's pretty amazing, then, that so many of them are born safe and healthy. One reason for this is because competent medical professionals are usually able to guide women through the birthing process in a way that ensures both the mother and child's well-being. Sometimes, however, medical professionals make errors that can cause serious injuries.

One of these injuries is Erb's palsy. This condition, which is found in less than 1 percent of all newborn children, occurs when the shoulder and neck are pulled in opposite directions, causing damage to the brachial plexus nerves. This can result in a child's difficulty moving the upper extremities. Although most cases of Erb's palsy resolve on their own or with minimal medical intervention, some forms are much more serious.

Man wins lawsuit after failure to diagnose HIV

Texas residents expect their doctors to provide them with the best care. This is reasonable, especially in light of the amount of training and experience healthcare professionals accumulate before they are considered full-time medical professionals who are able to practice medicine on their own. However, even the most competent doctors can make mistakes that leave a patient suffering undeserved harm. Even more problematic is the fact that far too many medical professionals are incompetent in the way that they treat their patients. This, too, can result in serious injuries and even death.

One man was subjected to negligent medical care when his doctor failed to diagnose him with HIV. According to reports, the man, who presented with a number of risk factors for HIV, consented to and requested testing, but was never given the appropriate tests. Three years later the man was found to have had HIV that had progressed to full-blown AIDS. As a result, he had suffered brain damage and limitations to his cognitive abilities. This, in turn, forced him out of his job as an attorney.

There's a reason they tell you not to eat before surgery

You may not even want to eat after midnight until a doctor tells you that you can't. Suddenly, you feel hungrier than ever. More than likely, during your preoperative appointment, no one took the time to explain why this rule exists. Surely, something small wouldn't make a difference. Actually, it could.

Your body has natural defenses that prevent food, stomach juices and other foreign matter from moving from your stomach into your lungs. When under anesthesia, those defenses, such as your gag reflex, are suppressed. If the anesthesiologist fails to take certain precautions prior to the administration of anesthesia and monitor you closely during your procedure, you could aspirate, which means that particulates from your stomach moved into your lungs. It could cause a number of respiratory issues, some of which could endanger your life.

How is brain cancer diagnosed?

Trained medical professionals can often make a quick diagnosis that, in turn, can lead to speedy and effective medical treatment. Oftentimes, this rapid response can lead to a decrease in symptoms, an improved prognosis and even complete remediation of the condition. Other times, however, medical professionals make errors in diagnosing conditions, which can lead to devastating consequences.

One of these conditions is cancer. Previous posts here have detailed how several types of cancer are diagnosed, and this week we will look at brain cancer.

Baby dies after doctors fail to diagnose pertussis

The children and the elderly are amongst the most vulnerable people in our society. These individuals often has an undeveloped or weakened immune system that leaves them susceptible to certain diseases. Fortunately, advances in medical treatment have allowed doctors to adequately treat these conditions to ensure that they don't progress to the point of causing extreme harm or death. However, this usually requires a medical professional to make an accurate and timely diagnosis.

Tragically, that was not the case in one instance where a child ended up dying due to doctor's inability to diagnose her with whooping cough. The child's mother, who subsequently filed and succeeded on a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit, indicated to medical professionals that the child had visited California where a recent outbreak of whooping cough had occurred. The child's mother claimed that she also asked doctor's to test for pertussis, but that they failed to do so.

Lawsuit succeeds after surgical error causes amputations

Texas patients are supposed to be informed of the risks associated with any medical treatment they are to receive. Then, based on the information at hand, they can choose whether they want to confront the potential risks. However, sometimes medical professionals make mistakes that go beyond the risks identified when informed consent is obtained. These surgical errors can cause extensive, sometimes unbelievable, harm.

This was the scenario for one woman who recently succeeded on a medical malpractice lawsuit. The claim was filed after the woman underwent an operation to have an ovarian cyst removed, but eventually had to have her hands and feet amputated due to medical malpractice. According to the lawsuit, the doctor accidentally punctured her bowel. This not only caused the woman's blood pressure to drop, but it also caused gangrene. As a result, the woman's hands and feet had to be amputated.

Harmed by surgical error? Our Houston firm stand ready to help

Last week on the blog we discussed anesthesia errors and the potential harm they can cause to innocent and unsuspecting patients. Although these types of medical errors can prove deadly, they are not the only mistakes medical professionals make in the operating room. Instead, doctors and nurses sometimes perform the wrong procedures, operate on the wrong part of the body or even leave surgical instruments inside of patients. Other times doctors mistakenly nick veins, arteries or organs, sometimes causing irreparable harm.

Tragically, those affected by surgical errors usually have a long, hard road to recovery ahead of them. These victims may suffer disfigurement, permanent disability and chronic pain. When such harm is caused by a medical professional's negligence, the matter is unacceptable, which is why many in this position choose to file a medical malpractice claim. If successful on such a claim, victims may be able to recover compensation for their harm, which may be physical, emotional and financial in nature.

What to look for when surgical errors occur

Trust is a tricky thing. In your personal life, you may choose the people you let into your life carefully and only give your trust to people who earn it. Even so, when it comes to a surgeon who will be opening up your body, you may be like other Texas residents and give that trust a bit too easily.

In most cases, a successful surgical procedure that accomplishes your health care goals will reward your trust. However, when the trust is broken due to some error on the part of the surgeon, the anesthesiologist or a member of the surgical team, you may find yourself wondering what went wrong.

Anesthesia errors can result in significant harm

For a variety of reasons, invasive surgeries often require the use of anesthesia. By using anesthesia, a medical professional can better ensure that a patient doesn't feel pain, remains immobile during the operation and remains unconscious throughout the procedure. The drug's effectiveness lies in its ability to leave a patient in what is essentially a medically induced coma. Despite popular conceptions, the use of anesthesia does not merely put one to sleep.

With such a powerful medical tool comes great responsibility. Doctors must ensure that they take proper precautions and adhere to acceptable practices to avoid negative effects, which can span the spectrum of severity, including death. For this reason, medical professionals have to give considerations to a number of factors. Characteristics such as a patient's body mass index, age, medical history, use of medication, alcohol and drug use and even the length of time since the patient last ate and drank can be crucial to patient safety when it comes to the use of anesthesia.

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