Furr & Henshaw
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South Carolina Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Frailty makes the elderly more vulnerable

One of the natural impacts of aging is an increase in frailty. Injuries do not heal as quickly as they once did. People do not recover quite as fast. Injuries that they once would have considered minor now take a larger toll.

There is nothing that can be done to avoid this process entirely; even someone who works hard to stay in excellent shape is eventually going to see an increase in frailty and vulnerability. Experts note that this is because of a "cumulative decline in multiple physiological systems over a lifespan." This means that a relatively minor event can "trigger disproportionate changes in health status."

What happens when your doctor doesn't listen to you?

You know your own body better than anyone else ever could. You live with it 24/7. While you may not have an intimate understanding of the various biological processes that keep you alive, you know what is normal for you and what is not.

Unfortunately, medicine is, in many ways, a study of averages. Doctors spend a long time learning about the most common causes of various symptoms, but they also learn extreme and rare causes of them as well. Proper diagnosis involves taking the time to determine the exact symptoms and then ruling out certain causes until you only have one potential reason for the patient's issues.

Malpractice claims related to opioid addiction are on the rise

Modern pain relief is arguably the most critical of all the medical advances our society has made. The ability to operate on those with injuries or to provide reliable trauma care depends entirely on the ability of doctors to control the pain level of their patients.

Uncontrolled pain can cause a spike in blood pressure or even shock, a potentially deadly medical condition. Decades ago, doctors had only a handful of options for pain relief, including the narcotic painkillers we know as morphine and codeine. In recent years, the rise in synthetic opioids has made it easier and cheaper than ever to manage severe, chronic or acute pain.

Financial abuse is a reality in many assisted living facilities

Improper care of nursing home residents can take many forms. Sometimes, it looks like a messy facility or a lack of adequate staff. Other times, nursing home abuse can look like inappropriate financial pressure placed on residents by staff.

While many family members who have loved ones in nursing homes will likely be on the lookout for warning signs of significant neglect or ongoing abuse, they may not stop to think about the potential for financial abuse.

An over-eager doctor can be a real danger in the delivery room

Pregnancy, labor and delivery are natural processes through which a human grows a new life form and then pushes it out of their body. Women have been birthing children for as long as the species has existed. Despite issues with maternal and infant mortality, most women and children survived the birth process.

Unfortunately, some doctors in western medicine tend to take an aggressive approach toward labor and delivery. Doctors try to handle it like it is a disease or a medical condition that requires treatment and intervention, rather than as a natural process that should occur mostly on its own. The consequence of that attitude is that doctors may take unnecessary steps that cause more danger for the patient.

Why it's so hard to stop nursing home abuse

Many abusers simply look for vulnerable individuals whom they think they can take advantage of. This is why you see cases of domestic violence, for example, that target young people or those who are financially dependent on their abusers. It makes them vulnerable.

That's also part of the reason for nursing home abuse. The elderly have a relationship with their caregivers that makes them directly vulnerable. They need that care to stay healthy. They may not have any way to physically stand up for themselves. Abusers see this as an opportunity for financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and mental abuse, and much more.

You have to be your own advocate in labor and delivery

If you are like many expectant mothers, you probably put a lot of thought into selecting your obstetrician when you realized you were pregnant. It's also possible that you trusted your family doctor to provide prenatal services and help when your child arrives. Unfortunately, not every doctor really deserves the trust that pregnant women place in them.

While most doctors are dedicated to the care of their patients, there are always a few bad eggs. Your doctor may even convince you that they have your best interest at heart until you arrive at the hospital for the birth of your child. Then, you could find yourself facing the harsh reality of that your doctor is more concerned with their own convenience than with your safety and health.

Nursing home tour red flags

The first step to choosing a nursing home for your loved one feels simple: You need to pick out a number of homes in the area and take a tour. Depending on the situation, you may bring your loved one on this tour to make the choice, or you may wind up making it yourself -- if they are suffering from mental conditions that make it impossible for them to choose, for example. No matter how you plan to select the home, though, you just need to tour a few, get a feel for what they offer and decide which one is the best fit.

You know that all of the nursing homes are going to put their best foot forward and tell you about the advantages during the tour. They're trying to sell a product. They want it to look good.

Did your doctor administer a drug without proper follow-up care?

Medications developed to impact the human body can sometimes have unintended physical consequences. Physicians refer to these consequences as side effects. These side effects could include anything from headaches or nausea to weight gain, impotence or even psychosis.

A large number of drugs have unexpected and potentially dangerous side effects, necessitating careful monitoring on the part of any physician to ensure that the patient is safe and continuing to take the drug in question. Unfortunately, many physicians fail to adequately warn their patients about all of the potential consequences or side effects associated with the medication. They may feel complacent because extreme reactions are rare. However, they do happen.

A delay in lung cancer diagnosis can affect outcomes

As with many diseases, lung cancer has a better prognosis if it is detected early. If lung cancer is diagnosed in its early stages, it is possible to cure. However, unfortunately, patients who visit a doctor complaining of telltale symptoms of lung cancer do not always get a swift diagnosis.

There are two main types of lung cancer, and these are referred to as non-small cell lung cancer, comprising around 80 percent of diagnoses, and small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer can be diagnosed through a biopsy. In order for a biopsy to take place, a doctor will need to have a reasonable amount of suspicion that the patient is indeed suffering from lung cancer. This suspicion should arise from the patient being at risk due to their age and lifestyle, as well as the symptoms that they are experiencing.

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