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medical malpractice Archives

Misdiagnosis can lead to significant harm to patients

The last thing that you expect when you go to the doctor is to be misdiagnosed; however, this is a possibility. There are times when a doctor might not review all the applicable information or they might not come to the right conclusion about what's going on with you. While a misdiagnosis isn't always a life-threatening issue, it's possible that you will face considerable harm because of it.

Can your doctor give you a placebo instead of real medicine?

Most people have heard the term "placebo." It's a pill or other treatment that has no active ingredient. Placebos are sometimes used in clinical trials. One group is given a real medication, while the other (the control group) is given a placebo. Researchers determine how effective the real medication is. The subjects aren't told which they're receiving.

Why lack of racial diversity among doctors can be dangerous

It's an unfortunate reality in this country that there are significant health disparities between white patients and those of other racial and ethnic groups -- particularly black patients. Some of these are caused by unequal treatment by physicians and other health care providers. At least part of the problem is that black patients are less likely to trust white doctors than black ones.

What is left-digit bias, and how can it impact your medical care?

We all know that doctors' personal biases can impact the level of care they provide their patients. They may not even be aware of these biases. However -- like all humans -- they have them. They can involve gender, race, weight and a host of other characteristics. For example, one study found that emergency department physicians were less likely to give black patients pain medication than white ones suffering approximately the same amount of pain.

What common medication errors still need to be remedied?

Medication errors can be harmful and even deadly. Hospitals and other health care facilities have safeguards to help prevent them. So do pharmacies. However, people are human. They get rushed or tired and sometimes don't pay as much attention to the medications they're dispensing or administering as they should.

How will a new law aimed at the VA help protect other patients?

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to pass the Department of Veterans Affairs Provider Accountability Act. The proposed law would prohibit the VA from "enter[ing] into a settlement agreement relating to an adverse action" that would "conceal a serious medical error or a lapse in generally-accepted standards of clinical practice." It would also require the department to report these disciplinary actions to state licensing boards as well as the National Practitioner Data Bank.

When can you sue a plastic surgeon for malpractice?

Many people choose to have cosmetic surgery over the holidays when they can take a couple of weeks off to heal. The rate of noninvasive cosmetic procedures also rises over the holidays because people want to look their best at gatherings of family and friends who haven't seen them for a while.

Multiple medications increase the chances of harmful interactions

One reason people are living longer than ever is that medications are available to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and a host of other conditions that killed many of our ancestors before they reached what we now consider the "senior years."

Can you sue for malpractice suffered in an emergency room?

If you go to an emergency room (ER) or take a loved one there, you likely aren't expecting the same level of personalized care that you receive in your doctor's office or if you checked in for a scheduled hospital stay. However, emergency room patients are entitled to a specific standard of care. When that doesn't occur and a patient is further injured or sickened as a result, legal action may be warranted.

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