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Wrightsville Beach Personal Injury Law Blog

Woman killed in Southwest Airlines incident

North Carolina residents may have heard about the plane catastrophe that involved a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas. The incident happened on April 17.

According to news reports, passengers on the plane heard a couple of explosions before their oxygen masks dropped. A window had been broken out by an engine that exploded. Unfortunately, a woman on the plane was partially sucked out of the open window. Passengers inside of the plane grabbed her and were able to eventually pull her back into the plane.

Hospitalists show potential to reduce obstetric malpractice

Hospitals in North Carolina that partner with hospitalist groups often increase their response time when patients require immediate care. Hospitalists are physicians that work exclusively within hospitals, often under contract through third-party hospitalist groups. Those who practice as obstetricians are available to treat women experiencing labor and delivery complications. They are on duty as opposed to on call, which means that women receive care in emergency situations faster than if an obstetric hospitalist had not been available.

Delays in care represent a very common accusation within medical malpractice lawsuits related to labor and delivery. Obstetrics is particularly prone to litigation. A bad outcome for a mother or an infant often results in allegations against the attending physician. Injured infants tend to elicit sympathy from juries as well.

Study finds software can reduce radiology reporting errors

North Carolina patients who need to have medical imaging done using ultrasound or dual-energy X-ray radiology might be less likely to suffer as a result of errors in recording data if software designed to prevent errors comes into wide use. On March 20, the Journal of the American College of Radiology published the results of researchers' findings into mistakes and the technology that may help.

The researchers found that sonographers and radiologists made data entry errors in 6 to 28 percent of DEXA and ultrasound reports. It is estimated that over a five-year period, the software will save around $1 million in radiologist wages. The authors of the study said that while there is an initial cost associated with installing the software, over time it will pay off.

The difficulty of diagnosing mitochondrial disease

North Carolina residents who are among the approximately 75,000 Americans who have mitochondrial disease might have had symptoms for a long time before getting an accurate diagnosis. The disease shares symptoms with other medical conditions, which makes diagnosis difficult. According to research, many patients with mitochondrial disease were misdiagnosed, sometimes more than once, before doctors finally made an accurate diagnosis.

Mitochondrial disease is a group of genetic disorders involving the mitochondria, which are parts of cells that are responsible for giving the body energy. The symptoms of mitochondrial disease include fatigue, weakness, impaired coordination and difficulty walking. Participants in the study, which was led by Columbia University researchers, reported more than 800 different symptoms.

Officials still searching for answers in bridge collapse

North Carolina residents may have heard about the bridge collapse at Florida International University. The collapse led to the deaths of eight people and crushed six cars. At the time of the accident, the bridge was being put through a stress test while cars were allowed to drive over it. No one is sure why that was the case, and many believe that the adjacent area should have been closed.

However, there is no clear answer as to whether the stress test was the cause of the collapse. Some question whether the bridge was completed too quickly. It took roughly one night five days before the collapse to put it together. There are also some questions as to whether Munilla Construction Management (MCM) won the right to build the bridge because of political ties. Although it is a large firm, it has also given hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to local officials.

Second opinions can improve patient results

A 2010 Gallup poll found that 70 percent of people in North Carolina and throughout the country trusted their doctor's diagnosis. However, roughly one out of three diagnoses made by a medical professional is incorrect. Wrong diagnoses may have financial consequences for employers, which is why a proper diagnosis is worthwhile. In addition to saving money, employers can empower and engage with their employees.

A study done by Mayo Clinic found that 88 percent of patients received a different or altered diagnosis after getting a second opinion. Seeking a second opinion may be a good idea if a person is diagnosed with a rare condition or doesn't have any other treatment options available. However, it is important to note that a second opinion can be helpful even when a person doesn't have a serious or unusual condition. Seeing another doctor can be beneficial whenever a person isn't confident in the conclusion his or her primary physician reaches.

Newborns may suffer broken collarbones during delivery

Children are prone to the occasional injury when growing up, but the situation is different when they are just being born. Expectant mothers in North Carolina should know that newborns are at a high risk for collarbone fractures during delivery.

There are several factors that may come into play. One of the baby's arms may be positioned in such a way that it obstructs the baby's passage through the birth canal. Having a narrow birth canal, and a large baby, can also potentially lead to a fracture. In some cases, a doctor may cause the injury through the use of tools.

Diagnosing patients with presumed cellulitis

Although cellulitis is a common bacterial skin infection experienced by many residents in North Carolina and elsewhere, there are no diagnostic tools available. This means that it must be diagnosed based on the appearance of the patient's skin. However, there are other medical conditions that can result in similar inflammation of the skin, potentially leading to a misdiagnosis.

A recent study found that 30 percent of patients who were evaluated at a hospital's emergency department had pseudocellulitis and not actual cellulitis. For 82.4 percent of these patients, dermatologists recommended that their antibiotic treatments be discontinued. About half of the patients who were diagnosed with pseudocellulitis were discharged.

Side effects for mesothelioma immunotherapy often misdiagnosed

There are two main types of treatment for North Carolina patients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma: chemotherapy and immunotherapy. While immunotherapy usually has side effects that are less severe than chemotherapy, there are cases where they can be severe and highly unpredictable. Since immunotherapy is a newer treatment, the side effects can potentially be misdiagnosed.

Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to target cells that rapidly divide, such as cancer cells. However, the drugs also often cause damage to normal cells in the body, which can result in serious or even severe side effects. Immunotherapy involves using the body's immune system to fight the cancer cells. Inhibitors cause the immune system cells to become active, putting the immune system on high alert for cancer cells.

Government drops its appeal of $42 million malpractice award

Medical malpractice awards can be high in North Carolina and around the country when children have suffered injuries that will require a lifetime of care. One such case involves a Pennsylvania boy who suffered catastrophic injuries during his birth allegedly caused by an obstetrician working in a federally-supported health care facility. The boy's parents sued the government in 2016 and were awarded $42 million in damages, and lawyers from both sides announced on Feb. 1 that a pending appeal has been withdrawn and the money will now be paid.

During the six-day trial, the jury heard how the boy suffered skull fractures and irreversible brain damage when the obstetrician in attendance chose to use forceps to complete his delivery. Lawyers representing the boy's parents argued that this drastic measure was unnecessary as neither the boy nor his mother appeared to be in distress, and the judge hearing the case noted that the doctor was sweating and straining as he struggled to extract the child.

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