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Wrightsville Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

Race may play role in breast cancer survival rates

According to a report from the American Cancer Society, the death rates for women with breast cancer have come down in recent years overall. However, not all patients in North Carolina or elsewhere face the same outcomes. White women have a 39 percent greater chance of surviving breast cancer than black women based on data from 2015. Similar differences in patient outcomes between white and black patients were observed in the 1980s.

However, it was also determined that Asians, native Americans and Hispanic women have the lowest rates of breast cancer. This may be partially because race may influence the type of tumor that a woman gets. Black women are most likely to get triple negative cancer, which may be more difficult to treat compared to the HR+/HER2- tumors that white patients may be more likely to get.

Injuries to the sacral spinal cord

When North Carolina residents become involved in car crashes, they are sometimes at risks for suffering injuries to their spinal cord. The functions that are affected will vary depending on where the injury occurred. For example, sacral spinal cord injuries often have an impact on the hips, groin and perineal areas of the body.

The sacrum is made up of four vertebrae that have been fused together plus the coccyx, or tailbone. The bones are numbers S-1 to S-5. Even though they are fused, each section is responsible for controlling different areas of the body. In general, an injury to the spinal cord in the sacrum could result in a loss of function in the legs and hips. Further, those who were injured may also experience a loss of control over their bladder and bowels. Even so, they often still retain the ability to walk.

How patients can get better care from doctors

North Carolina doctors may not be spending as much time with their patients as the patients would like. However, representatives from Saint Vincent's Healthcare and Billings Clinic have suggestions for how patients can get the most from an appointment. Ideally, patients will stick to talking about the symptoms that led them to see a doctor in the first place. As a general rule, it may be best to stick to two problems per appointment.

Those who have more than two health issues may be better served by asking for an additional appointment to discuss those concerns. It may also be a good idea for patients to stay vigilant about voicing concerns about their health. If a doctor does not take those concerns seriously, it may be a good idea to start looking for another physician to talk to.

Failing to diagnose macular degeneration

North Carolina residents may be interested to learn that, according to a study, about 25 percent of age-related macular degeneration is missed by eye care professionals. Because this condition can result in a loss of eyesight, failing to diagnose AMD can have serious implications for older adults who are at risk for developing it.

AMD often results in irreversible vision loss for those who are at or over 50 years of age. The condition reportedly affects 14 million individuals in the U.S. Although there is no cure for AMD, there are ways doctors can slow down the progression of the condition. Treatments often can include certain vitamins and minerals and an injectable anti-VEGF medication that reduces the size of abnormally large blood vessels.

Revealing private health info could be considered malpractice

Some New Jersey residents may be interested in learning about whether it constitutes malpractice to disclose information about a person's HIV status. Although medical errors are commonly understood to be forms of malpractice, not everyone is aware that revealing private information without consent can also be an act of misconduct. In general, patients enjoy a right to privacy concerning their medical information that doctors are legally required to respect.

A court recently found that a physician had indeed committed malpractice by revealing confidential information about a patient's HIV status to an unauthorized third party. Sources say that the patient was being treated for kidney failure by the physician in question when the incident occurred. In the course of a consultation regarding the disease, the doctor told someone else in the room that the patient was HIV-positive. The court that heard the case found this to be a violation of the AIDS Assistance Act.

New method to detect gum disease

North Carolina residents might like to know about the latest advances in the dental industry. One researcher may have found a way to conduct dental probes that produces less pain and more accurate results.

When dentists use periodontal probes to look for gum disease during checkups, metal hook-shaped sticks are used to measure gaps between the tooth and gum. The pocket depth is greater in those with diseased gums. The uncomfortable nature of this probe makes it a source of anxiety for patients, and it can be difficult for hygienists and dentists to catch all symptoms.

Diagnosing soft tissue sarcomas

North Carolina doctors who believe that a patient could have a soft tissue sarcoma use a number of tools to make a diagnosis. They can also use tests to determine where the cancer is in the body and if it has spread to other areas. The type of diagnostic tests that are used depend on the person's signs and symptoms, medical condition and the results of earlier tests.

Doctors can use imaging tests to determine if a soft tissue sarcoma is benign or cancerous. Depending on where the sarcoma is located, a doctor may order an x-ray, a computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging or a positron emission tomography scan. X-rays are often used to find bone sarcomas as they show the structures inside the body. CT or CAT scans are useful to show the tumors size. An MRI can also show the tumors size but may also be used to determine if a biopsy is needed. PET scans create pictures of a patient's organs.

Probe finds nursing home abuse goes unreported despite law

North Carolina families who have elderly relatives may be interested to learn that more than one in four cases of potential physical or sexual abuse in nursing homes go unreported, according to the Health and Human Services. This data comes despite a law that requires Medicare to report potential cases to the police.

Approximately 1.4 million people live in nursing homes across the nation. With so many citizens living in these types of facilities, quality is a major concern. Of the potential crimes that went unreported, four out of five allegedly involved suspected sexual abuse or rape. In total, auditors found 134 cases in which medical records suggested that possible physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect was involved. For 38 of the cases, the investigators did not find any evidence that the police had been called.

Diagnosing nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

North Carolina patients know that time is critical when it comes to cancer diagnoses. To that end, it is important for doctors to use the proper tools to diagnose cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages.

In cases of suspected nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer, doctors should perform a complete physical exam of the patient to check for any lumps on the neck and face. The nose, tongue, mouth and throat should also be examined for any irregularities. Because nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer can mimic the symptoms of chronic sinusitis, several other diagnostic tests may be performed to differentiate between the two conditions. These may include a biopsy, endoscopy, X-ray, computed tomography scan, magnetic resonance imaging scan, bone scan and positron emission tomography scan.

Faulty data on drug side effects

Every year, up to 40,000 people around the country die as a result of the side effects from the medications they take. To combat the issue, the federal Food and Drug Administration has been gathering information from patients in North Carolina and elsewhere who have had bad experiences after taking prescribed drugs. However, an evaluation of the data indicates that the information is unusable.

The Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System receives reports regarding the side effects of drugs. The database is not limited to medical personnel, as it can be used by anyone. Researchers who want to gain a better understanding of the side effects of drugs and how to reduce the adverse effects access the database because it is constantly updated with new information. However, when one team of researchers tried to use the database to conduct a study, it discovered that the data was faulty.

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