Seattle Personal Injury Law Blog

Klumpke paralysis: symptoms and prognosis

Parents in Washington should be aware of the birth injuries that their newborn might fall victim to. One of the rarest is called Klumpke paralysis and involves an injury to a child's brachial plexus, a system of nerves located in the shoulder. The nerves could be stretched, scarred or torn. There are two types of tears: avulsions when they occur at the spine, and ruptures when they arise anywhere else.

The most common cause of Klumpke paralysis is a difficult delivery. As its name implies, it can lead to loss of movement or weakness, usually in the lower arm and the hand. Another symptom, though rare, is the drooping of the baby's eyelid on the side of the face that's opposite to the injury.

Methods for lowering the risk for radiology errors

According to research from Johns Hopkins University, every year in Washington and across the US, medical errors contribute to over 250,000 deaths -- in other words, about 10% of all the deaths in the nation. Many of these medical errors are related to radiology. While only 3% to 5% of standard radiology exams result in mistakes, the rate of error is much higher with CT scans and MRIs. False-positive readings can be involved in 30% of diagnoses.

The American Journal of Roentgenology has outlined best practices for reducing radiology errors, and the following are just a few of them. First, medical centers could institute a peer-review process among radiologists. There are software solutions available to assist with this. The next step is to prevent burnout through shorter work shifts, structured break time and double reads. 

The lawyers at Leemon + Royer are experienced in seeking compensation for all kinds of medical neglegence, including unnecessary radiology mistakes.  We would welcome a cal to see if we can help.

SSC one-hour sepsis treatment may raise risk for misdiagnoses

The Surviving Sepsis Campaign provides care bundles for the treatment of sepsis. Previous bundles gave directions for three- and six-hour treatments, but now there is an SSC care bundle with a one-hour treatment. Residents of Washington should know what this treatment involves and whether it will be an improvement on previous care bundles.

The care bundle is meant to help hospital emergency departments more quickly identify and treat sepsis. The treatment described should be initiated within one hour of sepsis diagnosis. Recommendations include a measuring of the patient's lactate level, the administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics and the obtaining of blood cultures before this administration.

Study shows what conditions are most linked to diagnostic errors

Inaccurate and delayed diagnoses are to blame for more than a third of all medical malpractice claims. Of these, 74% are diagnostic errors related to one of three conditions -- cancer, vascular events and infection. Washington residents should know that this was the conclusion of a study published on July 11 in the peer-reviewed journal Diagnosis.

Researchers looked at 55,000 malpractice claims filed from 2006 to 2015, isolating the nearly 16,000 claims relating to diagnostic errors. Previous research had shown that the "Big Three" are responsible for some of the most serious harm among the victims of misdiagnosis, which is why the study focused on these conditions. Cancer was behind 37.8% of the claims, vascular events behind 22.8% and infection behind 13.5%.

Legislation aims to improve services for crime victims

Concerns about the rights of crime victims are provoking legislative initiatives across the country, from Washington to New Jersey. In the latter state, a bill in the legislature is designed to raise the amounts of compensation crime victims can receive in awards. It also aims to make more types of crime victims eligible to access support services. Legislators are also considering proposals that could provide additional counseling and support services for crime victims.

Many victims of violent crime suffer severe effects for years to come after the initial incident. In addition to the physical and psychological trauma, people may face ongoing medical expenses and disabilities that prevent them from advancing at work or engaging in their hobbies. However, restitution awards from people responsible for the crime may do little to offset these effects. They may not have the funds to pay the judgment, and the later effects of their crimes may not be fully apparent at the time of the initial conviction.

Exactly who is responsible for an injury in a busy parking lot?

In lively urban and suburban communities, the parking lot business can be a lucrative one to be in -- but there are certain risks involved with owning a parking lot. 

For example, many people who use parking lots expect there to be proper security measures in place to keep them safe. Which begs the question, is an individual able to sue the owner of a parking lot for an injury that occurred on the property?

Misdiagnosis risk high for burning mouth syndrome

Research conducted by Case Western Reserve University's School of Dental Medicine highlights the ways in which a misdiagnosis can potentially harm a patient. The study centered on a medical condition referred to as burning mouth syndrome. BMS is a complex and painful affliction that manifests in recurring or chronic scalding, tingling, or burning feeling in the person's mouth. It can sometimes include a sensation of dry mouth or a metallic taste.

According to an assistant professor and researcher at the dental school, the symptoms of BMS can be similar to those of other conditions, making a misdiagnosis more likely. A misdiagnosis can result in wasted money and resources, as well as prolonging the discomfort of the patient. She said many clinicians and dentists lack proper training about burning mouth syndrome, and useless treatments might be ordered in cases of misdiagnoses.

This problem is similar to those caused in many medical situations. A doctor who is inadequately trained, or who ignores his training or simply fails to listen carefully to a patient can misdiagnose the problem, sometimes with tragic results.

How to cope as the victim of a violent crime

No one anticipates being the victim of a crime; they may prepare for the possibility and warn family members about the dangers of specific crimes. However, we rarely expect the crime and know the proper reaction afterward.

It’s especially difficult after a violent crime such as a robbery or assault. We may find ways to adjust to life post-victimization, but it doesn’t mean we coped with those experiences. Luckily, there are ways to identify trauma after a crime and strategies to process your feelings.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy: what it is, how it is treated

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a type of birth injury that expectant mothers in Washington may want to know more about. It is a brain dysfunction (encephalopathy) caused by a shortage of oxygen going to the brain (hypoxia) and of blood reaching the brain (ischemia). Among full-term infants, it arises in anywhere from three to 20 out of every 1,000 live births. That rate goes up to 60% among pre-term infants.

In some cases, the cause of HIE is unknown, but many factors can be involved.However, one of the most unfortunate is the failure of health care providers to recognize and respond to fetal distress, for example by quickly delivering the baby by Caesarian delivery. This results in the baby being deprived of ogygen for extended periods causing permanent damage.  Cerebral palsy is one of the possible results of HIE.

Intraventricular hemorrhage: symptoms and treatments

Washington residents may be familiar with a condition called intraventricular hemorrhage where the ventricles, or fluid-filled areas, of the brain bleed. It often develops in babies born more than 10 weeks early because they have undeveloped blood vessels. Babies born with respiratory distress syndrome or unstable blood pressure, among other medical conditions, are also at a high risk for IVH.

There are four "grades" of IVH to classify the degree of bleeding with grades 3 and 4 being the most serious. In grade 3 IVH, the blood will press on the brain tissue, and in grade 4 IVH, the blood will directly involve brain tissue, possibly forming blood clots that obstruct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, cause it to build up and lead to hydrocephalus.

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