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New Jersey Medical Malpractice Law Blog

The Dangers of Removing Pacemaker and Defibrillator Wires in a Cath Lab.

Pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD) are small devices that are placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. They both use pulses or shocks to help control these life-threatening arrhythmias and both consist of two parts: a generator and wires (leads or electrodes). The wires run from the generator into the heart's chambers. They are attached to the heart muscle and will provide electrical signals from the generator as needed. During the life of the device it may become necessary to remove the wires. Typically, removal is required because of one of or more of the following reasons: (1) scar tissue has formed at the attachment point and around the lead, (2) damage has occurred to the inside or outside of the lead, (3) an infection is found at the side of the device or the lead, and/or (4) a blockage of the vein has occurred either by a clot or by scar tissue. The procedure to remove the wires is called a "lead extraction."

The July Effect – Don’t Get Sick Over The Summer

While it’s true that health emergencies do not follow any sort of set schedule, there are certain times when you might face inefficient or negligent care from a hospital. Thousands of people across the nation avoid scheduling surgeries or complex procedures during the summer months due to conventional wisdom collectively referred to as “The July Effect.”

Largely a product of poor timing, the effect was recently described in Time thusly: “The most experienced medical residents graduate and leave hospitals in July, just as newly minted M.D.s (i.e., last year’s medical students) arrive to start caring for their first patients.” While many people might immediately dismiss this as spurious logic or perhaps an old wives’ tale, a recent study looked specifically at The July Effect.

Medical Errors

THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE UNITED STATES

Medication Errors

In a study recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2625319), researchers reported that nearly a third of drugs approved for usage by the Food and Drug Administration are subsequently found to pose safety risks.

Contaminated Syringes

The American Medical Association (AMA) reported recently in their daily communication that there were reported 52 cases of infection in patients by contaminated syringes in the State of New Jersey alone.

Will increase in work hours for residents endanger patients?

There is arguably no other profession where it is more important for practitioners to be of sound mind than healthcare. A lapse in thought or judgment by a doctor or nurse could mean committing an avoidable error that endangers a patient's life.

While far too many people are still falling victim to medical errors, the body that grants accreditation to programs that train medical school graduates thinks the solution is to make first-year residents work more hours in a shift. Going forward, first-year residents will be able to work up to 28 consecutive hours in a shift instead of 16, while still being able to work a maximum of 80 hours a week.

More hospitals experimenting with fessing up after errors

With approximately 251,000 people across the United States dying every year from medical errors and malpractice, hospitals and health care organizations worry about the costs of lawsuits. Unfortunately for the victims of medical malpractice and their family members, that means it can be hard to find out what exactly went wrong.

Hospitals frequently greet requests for information with walls of silence, making litigation necessary to get some answers. This often raises costs and allows avoidable errors to persist, because hospitals do not want to acknowledge that the errors ever occurred.

A misdiagnosis can have deadly consequences

When you receive a diagnosis for a serious or terminal condition - cancer, Alzheimer's, ALS, etc. - your whole world changes. Many people decide to confront the diagnosis head on, agreeing to further tests, medication and treatments. Others sink into depression. Some even take their own lives out of a feeling of hopelessness.

Imagine then a doctor telling you later on that you or your loved one never had the condition. Think of all the money spent on tests and treatments. What if the treatments and medication actually made your overall health worse? What do you do when a loved one is already gone?

Are sales reps in the OR posing a danger to patients?

Doctors and health care systems often rely on the expertise of medical device sales representatives to help them understand the benefits of certain devices before making a purchase. However, many experts are cautioning that doctors may be relying on these sales reps too much.

In fact, something that many surgical patients may not be aware of is that sales reps are a frequent presence in operating rooms. This could interfere with the informed consent rights of patients.

Report: Infusion pumps still pose significant health hazards

A recent report from ECRI Institute (formerly known as Emergency Care Research Institute), a prominent nonprofit organization that works to improve patient care, names infusion pump errors as the top health care technology hazard for 2017. The report should raise alarms, since infusions pumps enjoy widespread use in hospitals and are generally considered safe because of improved safety mechanisms.

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