Seattle Personal Injury Law Blog

Report says 166 kids sexually abused by Colorado Catholic priests

At least 166 children have been sexually abused by Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, according to a report released on Oct. 23. The findings were the culmination of a seven-month investigation funded by an anonymous donor and conducted by a former Colorado U.S. attorney.

The 263-page report alleges that a total of 43 Catholic priests abused children in the state over the past 69 years. However, most of the abuse was committed by five individuals. The report claims that 90 children were molested by just three priests in the Denver archdiocese alone. In addition, it says that it took an average of nearly 20 years for the church to intervene and remove a priest after learning of abuse allegations. It further claims that the church only reported 10 of the 100 sexual abuse instances it knew of since 1950.

How to detect elder abuse in nursing home facilities

Making the decision to place your family member in a nursing home is something that you did not take lightly. You likely took many factors into account such as specialty care, staffing, location, size, cost and culture. Fortunately, you found a facility that provides high quality medical care and an active social environment.

A study by the AARP Foundation shows that Washington state’s long-term care system leads the nation. Yet, the growing nursing shortage has recently caused many to question what this means for senior care. Coupled with Medicare and Medicaid cuts, some nursing home facilities have had a reduction in force. An understaffed nursing home facility is one of the major contributing factors to nursing home abuse.

Former PTA president charged with child rape

A 34-year-old Washington man has been accused of raping and sending sexually suggestive messages to a teenage girl who viewed him as a father figure. According to court documents, the Sultan resident worked as a corrections officer and volunteered at an elementary school at the time of the alleged incidents. He is also said to have once served as a PTA president and Girl Scout leader. He was taken into custody on Oct. 8.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office began an investigation into the man's alleged activities after the victim's mother reported finding sexually explicit messages on social media. The SCSO says the man and the girl communicated with each other on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram over a period of about two years. The intimate relationship is alleged to have begun in 2017 when the girl was 13 years old. Prosecutors say the man met the girl while doing volunteer work for the Girl Scouts in 2015.

State laws recognize trauma for child witnesses of violence

About half of America has state laws addressing the serious trauma often suffered by children who witness violence at home. Experts studying the effects of domestic violence say witnessing violence has the same effects on children as it would if they'd directly experienced it physically.

Washington is one of the states that has enacted laws making violence in the presence of a child a more harshly punishable crime than it would be without a child witness. Also, under Washington law, it maybe possible to bring a lawsuit for the damages done to a child by witnessing acts of violence or other kinds of trauma sustained by one or both of his or her parents.

Infant mortality rate still high in U.S.

Over 22,000 babies in Washington and across the U.S. are dying every year either before, during or just after delivery. The infant mortality rate in this country is 5.8 per 1,000 births, and though it has been declining over the decades, it is still higher than the rate found in other developed countries like Spain, Hungary, Cuba and Japan.

In fact, the U.S. is ranked 33rd among the 36 wealthy nations in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development when it comes to infant mortality. In addition, the majority of infants in the U.S. die because of factors that were identified before or during delivery. Some 11,000 infants, about 49%, die because of issues that arose during pregnancy. Factors like pre-term delivery and low birth weight raise the risk for death.

Columbia U study links stress with higher risk of surgical errors

Stress, even momentary stress, can raise the risk for surgeons committing errors in the operating room. Those in Washington who are about to undergo surgery may want to know what researchers from the Data Science Institute at Columbia University have to say about this trend.

For their study, researchers had a surgeon wear a Hexoskin Smart Shirt under his scrubs while performing surgeries. This shirt measured the electrical impulses that triggered heartbeats while laparoscopic video recordings were taken at the same time of every procedure. Researchers documented errors in the video and saw how they were correlated to the times when variations in heartbeats told them that the surgeon was stressed.

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%.

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