When we read news stories about medical mistakes, surgical errors or negligent behavior on the part of a healthcare provider, it is often in the context of a very specific incident. One person may have been the victim of a surgical error or a doctor may have routinely neglected to conduct adequate examinations.
Many times when a patient undergoes surgery, speculation may arise about the nature of whatever it is that the surgeon may have removed, be it an appendix, a gall bladder, or a foreign object. Occasionally, however, the issue involves the opposite: What was it that the surgeon left behind?
An incident involving a woman who died by hypothermia and asphyxiation after she was put in a body bag by hospital personnel may be of some interest to people who live in South Carolina. The 80-year-old woman from California was originally believed to have died from a heart attack back in July 2010. The hospital declared her to be dead, and she was put in the hospital's morgue, according to the report.
South Carolina residents who are interested in malpractice litigation might know about an appellate decision in Illinois allowing the case against a surgeon to proceed despite a motion to dismiss it. A woman filed a suit in 2010 against her surgeon for performing a failed tubal ligation, resulting in the birth of a child with a serious genetic disease.
Readers from South Carolina may be concerned to learn of a recent study that may indicate marked inequalities in the quality of medical care around the nation. According to researchers, inpatient mortality rates can potentially differ by as much as 30 percent depending on factors as seemingly basic as the number of nurses assigned to each patient and the proportion of nurses with bachelor's degrees. Statistics like this could mean that the chances of falling victim to a form of medical malpractice could increase depending on factors that are wholly outside the patient's control.
South Carolina residents may be interested in knowing about the recent case of a 24-year-old woman who died after an attempted abortion given at a Chicago Planned Parenthood clinic. The late-term abortion was performed in a clinic was supposed to offer only limited services. A news report of the incident did not detail the nature of the woman's injuries. She reportedly received improper care at the clinic and was finally transferred to a hospital, but Planned Parenthood staff members reportedly did not give the hospital sufficient information to treat her. The woman died while in the hospital.
South Carolina residents may be interested in a Florida medical malpractice case involving a breast augmentation procedure gone wrong. An 18-year-old Florida woman underwent breast augmentation surgery at a clinic for a discounted fee of $2,100 in August 2013. Shortly after surgery, she developed complications that left her in a coma for two months, and while she has since emerged from the coma, she is incapable of performing basic tasks on her own or caring for her young son, her family says. The clinic denies wrongdoing and alleges the woman withheld "pertinent medical information" leading to the poor surgical outcome.
South Carolina residents may want to know about a potential medical risk that has been largely unreported. Surgeries involving complex surgical techniques such as robotic surgery systems have led to severe injuries for some patients. Although the Food and Drug Administration operates a database of deaths and injuries that have occurred during surgery, doctors and hospitals often don't contribute to it.
South Carolina parents whose children have suffered injuries or died due to medical malpractice may be interested to learn that one parent is working as an advocate for new legislation called Leah's Law. The law, named after the woman's daughter who died after suffering respiratory arrest caused by the medicine provided by the hospital, would require that all hospitals monitor their patients' breathing electronically after every surgical procedure.
South Carolina residents may be alarmed to learn that the number of deaths caused by hospital mistakes has been greatly underestimated. While not all mistakes made in hospitals lead to harm to patients or are considered medical malpractice, the fact is that even low estimates state that nearly 100,000 people die annually as a result of errors made by hospital workers. This number comes from the Institute of Medicine's 1999 "To Err is Human" report. According to newer studies, however, that number sorely understates the number of avoidable deaths.