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What is erroneous diagnosis and treatment?

In South Carolina hospitals, doctors and other medical staff are highly trained professionals who have years of training in diagnosing and treating patients. Yet mistakes happen, and patients offer suffer due to it. When a worsened medical condition results from a doctor’s negligence, it is considered medical malpractice. Erroneous diagnosis and treatment fall into this category.

Erroneous diagnosis typically falls into two categories: failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis. These two terms are relatively self-explanatory, but there are some caveats to consider. Failure to diagnose can mean not identifying the problem at all, or diagnosing it after damage has happened that would not have occurred if a diagnosis had been reached in a timely manner. 

How nurses impact hospital negligence

Hospitals are legally required to make sure their staff, including nurses, are educated and qualified to perform their duties. Besides their legal obligation to vet their staff before hiring them, hospitals have financial reasons to make sure their doctors and nurses can perform their job. After all, a medical malpractice lawsuit against a medical professional could lead to the hospital being liable for damages. Yet, in hospitals all across the nation, including South Carolina, the role of nurses in these sorts of cases is becoming more evident.

A recent study showed that both the education of nurses and the number of nurses on the floor could have a serious impact on the wellbeing of a patient. Being understaffed, or being staffed with poorly educated nurses, could lead to a higher death rate of up to 30 percent. 

Does saying “I’m sorry” count as an admission of guilt?

Conventional legal wisdom states you should never admit guilt. For many, this means never saying “I’m sorry,” as it could mean you have done something that warrants an apology. Yet, even when doctor error was made but injury still occurred from a medical procedure, the doctor may want the patient to know they wish the injury had not happened. In South Carolina, medical professionals can do just that.

The 2006 law, called the “South Carolina Unanticipated Medical Outcome Reconciliation Act,” says doctors can apologize or make other benevolent gestures toward patients who are suing them for medical malpractice. In fact, the statutes encourage medical professionals to do just that. If they make said apology, it is not considered an admission of guilt in any way.

Surgical robots far from perfect, study shows

Precise surgical robots were introduced years ago into surgical procedures. They were heralded as a new generation of surgical tools. But, statistics gathered by the Food and Drug Administration from 2000 to 2013 have shown that the robotic surgeries have made their fair share of mistakes.

In the 13 years the data studied, surgical robots have been responsible for 144 deaths. In addition, they have been responsible for more than 1,000 injuries, including burn injuries due to sparks, extended surgical times due to system errors, broken surgical equipment left inside a patient and uncontrolled movement. But, this represents a tiny fraction of the total number of surgeries performed by robots — nearly two million. 

The difference in Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy

Any expectant mother hopes their newborn is born without defect or injury. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Two of the most common injuries in South Carolina are Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. While these two injuries are similar, they do have their differences.

Both types of palsy are caused by damage to the brachial plexus. This is a bundle of nerves in the neck, near the shoulder. In the case of Erb’s palsy, the nerves that control and give sensation to the shoulder and upper arm are affected. When the lower plexus is affected, it can hinder the movement and sensation in the lower arm and hand, called Klumpke’s palsy. Sometimes these injuries happen at the same time, called a global palsy.

Can a doctor’s unethical behavior be medical malpractice?

Most people associate the term “medical malpractice” with something that physically injures the patient during the course of treatment, such as a botched surgical procedure, a prescription filled in error, or a misdiagnosis. In a recent post we discussed medical malpractice that occurs outside a hospital setting. But what about a doctor’s behavior that has nothing to do with the physiological aspects of the treatment?

At least one recent case has been reported in the media about doctors behaving badly while a patient is sedated, playing practical jokes and verbally disparaging the patient to other staff members. In one that case, a jury agreed that the behavior of the doctor and his staff rose to the level of medical malpractice and even defamation, awarding $500,000 to the man who was subjected to the behavior.

Medical malpractice does not always happen at hospitals

Surgical errors. Misdiagnoses. Delayed treatments. When you think about the topic of medical malpractice, these may be the things that come to mind: major medical mistakes on the part of doctors, surgeons and nurses, usually in a hospital setting. But from our perspective at Furr & Henshaw, medical malpractice is not confined to any particular location or to specific medical professionals. By being willing to step back and look at the broader scope of the medical profession, it becomes possible to see that there are more ways to become a victim of a health care error than the commonly thought-of ones.

As an example, think about what happens after you visit a doctor or a hospital. Chances are good that you will receive some prescribed medications to treat anything from post-operative pain to a specific illness or physical condition. Prescription drugs carry inherent risks if they are not used properly, or if the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage is prescribed. You need to be able to count on not only the prescribing physician but also the people who fulfill it at the pharmacists’ counter to get things right, because if they do not then you become vulnerable to different consequences, up to and including death.

South Carolina’s cap on medical malpractice damages

When a doctor commits medical malpractice, the patient may be entitled to damages. Under South Carolina law, however, there is a cap on the amount of damages a patient can receive in a medical malpractice claim.

There are two general types of damages: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to financial losses the patient incurred as a result of the injury. Examples of economic damages include past and future medical expenses, lost income, and reduced earning capacity. There is no cap or limit on economic damages.

What is the “July Effect”?

If you’ve ever watched a medical show or been friends with a medical professional, you have likely heard the term “July Effect.” This is a time when patient injuries and deaths seem to rise higher than normal. While this may seem like a spooky myth that gets circulated every year, one thing is for certain: there is much more inexperience in hospitals in July than any other month.

July is usually the first time new medical interns set foot on a hospital floor with the intent of treating patients. They have had all sorts of training, but now they are dealing with a lot of new factors that just can’t be taught in a classroom. As such, it seems more mistakes are made. 

What is Erb’s palsy?

Birth injuries can be a terrifying prospect for any expecting mother. While birth injuries are not common, one of the more common birth injuries that does occur is called Erb's palsy. Erb's Palsy is a kind brachial plexus palsy. When this happens, the newborn will have very limited or no use of one of their arms. It occurs because of a difficult delivery. If the baby is too big, or too much force is exerted on it, the nerves can become damaged and cause the complication.

In this specific injury, the nerve damage only affects the shoulder, making it difficult to lift the arm. If there is also a lack of feeling or movement in the fingers, the condition may be more severe than Erb’s palsy. There are four general types of nerve damage that can cause this birth injury.

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