Statistically, nearly 7 of every 1,000 births nationwide results in injury to the child. Unfortunately, such was the case for Ben Harman, who was born 13 years ago at Kent Hospital in England. His particular birth injury was caused by the doctors and nurses failing to check his blood sugar levels at birth, despite the clear warning signs that required that check. What’s worse? The hospital did not explain the child’s condition to his parents until four years later.
Girl has cancer. Girl goes into remission. Girl believes her cancer is back after Googling her symptoms. Girl tells doctors. Doctors ignore Girl. Girl dies from cancer.
Unfortunately, this is not an allegory. This actually happened to Bronte Doyne, a 19-year-old from England. She was suffering from fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, a rare liver cancer that only affects 200 people each year. She had first been hospitalized in 2011 when doctors suspected appendicitis. Unfortunately, that was not the only time they were wrong. Bronte was eventually diagnosed with cancer, and was told that her chances of survival were high following surgical intervention.
Having a baby should be the happiest day of a parent’s life. Unfortunately, inattentive doctors and failed hospital systems can cause that happy time to turn into a catastrophic event. Since our childhood, we have been taught not to question those in power and to always show proper respect. The practice of medicine, however, has continued to devolve to the point that many health care providers and hospital systems have begun putting profits over patient safety. They schedule too many patients in a day and too many births in a given time block. When this happens, individual patient care takes a back seat, and important findings are missed. For example, certain medical conditions, like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, should be diagnosed by an OBGYN during the woman’s pregnancy. If the doctor fails to properly monitor the condition, it can result in a horrible outcome for the baby, including cerebral palsy (caused by lack of oxygen to the brain). Similarly, fetal distress during delivery should be immediately recognized and treated to prevent anoxic brain injury. If it is not properly diagnosed, the baby will suffer serious, permanent injury.
A new report from CNN.com reveals that nearly half of the hospitals that perform children’s heart surgery provide no data or statistics on surgical death rates. In fact, 60 out of 109 hospitals fail to provide that basic information that patients may rely on. What’s worse? That means that parents have no idea what the death rate from surgery could be for their child based on the 22,000 babies and children who have heart surgery each year.
It is well established that between 210,000 to 440,000 people needlessly die each year from medical negligence. That makes medical errors the third leading cause of death in our country. Healthcare providers, however, have failed to treat this as an urgent problem and have refused to take steps to lower the mortality rate. On Tuesday, a baby died while undergoing heart surgery at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Florida, making her the ninth infant to pass away after such a procedure in just the last 3 years at that one hospital. That accounts for the heart surgery program at St. Mary’s having a 12.5% mortality rate for open heart surgery, which is more than three times the national average.
On April 1, 2015, Snyder & Wenner won a $3,200,000 verdict against the United States Government for a medical malpractice claim arising from care rendered at the Phoenix VA Hospital.
Briefly stated, plaintiff presented at the Phoenix VA for treatment of a rotator cuff tear. The orthopedic surgeon was aware there was also a mass in the shoulder, but told the patient it was simply a fluid-filled sac that could be “washed away.” During the surgery, the doctor repaired the rotator cuff but also realized that the mass was actually solid, not fluid-filled. Without discussing this new finding with the patient, the surgeon decided to remove the solid mass from plaintiff’s shoulder. The surgeon did no preoperative workup to diagnose what the mass was or to see what nerves would be in jeopardy if the mass were removed. When the surgeon removed the mass, he cut the axillary nerve, which ran directly through the mass. In doing so, the surgeon caused permanent, severe injury to the plaintiff.
Snyder & Wenner is proud to announce that Phoenix Magazine has named attorney Brian Snyder a Top Attorney in Arizona for 2014. This prestigious accolade is only awarded to a select number of attorneys in the state.
A new year is upon us, and many people have already begun addressing what they would like to change in 2015. Should your doctor be one of those changes?
Surgery Selfies? Chinese doctors and nurses say “sure.”
Executives and a team of medical staff from a Chinese hospital have been sanctioned for taking group photos, called “selfies,” next to unconscious patients following surgery. Even more disturbing, is that one of the photos appears to have been taken during surgery, as two doctors are leaning over the patient with medical instruments in their hands.
A new article published in the New York Times discusses the cost of medical testing and why the prices of routine diagnostic tests vary so significantly from hospital to hospital. One very interesting omission from the article is the widely debunked claim that medical malpractice lawsuits increase the price of healthcare, including “defensive medicine.” Instead, the article accurately describes the problem as follows: