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New Jersey Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Did You Get Sick Because Of Your Nurse’s Scrubs?

Medical facilities go to great lengths to prevent cross-contamination and ensure their patients can recover in a safe, sterile environment. Medical negligence, however, remains a very real crisis in hospitals in New Jersey and across the nation. Unfortunately, negligence, malpractice and prolonged illnesses can come from truly unexpected sources.

Clothing.

Surgical mistakes are often very expensive for the victim

Going under the knife for surgery is a dangerous proposition. People can and do have severe adverse reactions to anesthesia, which can sometimes be fatal. Each human body varies from the next, so the potential exists for severe bleeding due to an unusually placed artery or vein. Any surgery can result in complications, including infections. Then, of course, there's the worst-case scenario, which is that your surgeon can make a mistake while you're in his or her care.

All kinds of mistakes happen in the operating room. Sometimes machinery, tools or cotton swabs get left in a patient after surgery. These items can cause infection or septic shock. In some cases, they can physically damage tissue and organs nearby. Surgeons could perform the wrong procedure or even operate on the wrong part of the body. When these mistakes happen, second surgeries are often necessary to correct the initial mistake.

Mistakes with medications can have serious consequences

Modern medicine can provide many people with improved health and longer lives. Medications and prescription drugs have a lot to do what that. Certain medications can kill cancer, stave off blood clots or strokes, or control a lifelong viral infection. Others can help you process sugar and fight off bacteria that won't die on its own.

Modern drugs can save lives and extend lives. However, when they get administered improperly, the results can be devastating. One common source of medication complications is the dreaded drug interaction. Another is when a medical professional accidentally gives someone the wrong medication. These mistakes can have life-threatening results for patients, and, in some cases, may constitute medical malpractice.

Birth injuries can cost parents for the rest of their lives

When people think of pregnancy, labor and birth, the images are often ones of familial joy and the triumph of modern medicine. Healthy mothers cradle newborns - exhausted but full of love. Many times, that is the outcome of the labor and delivery process. However, not every expectant mother is that lucky. Not all babies end up being perfectly healthy after birth.

Sometimes, things go wrong during labor and delivery. It could be unpredictable, like the umbilical cord getting wrapped around the unborn baby's neck or pinched as the child enters the birth canal. The mother or the baby could have a negative reaction to a medicine administered as part of labor. Something could cause the infant to go into distress, and monitors could fail to notify medical professionals in time. When these things happen, the new baby may end up with serious birth injuries, some of which can persist for life.

How can you prove that a mistake happened in the hospital?

Thousands of people every year end up injured, sickened or killed because of mistakes that happen in hospitals. Many times, the patients and families involved in these dilemmas do not even realize a medical mistake was the cause of their situation. It can be hard for those with limited medical knowledge to determine the cause of an unexpected and negative outcome to medical treatment.

Electronic medical records have helped a little with transparency. Patients may have an easier time getting ahold of their records and reviewing them. Similarly, hospitals’ best practices and other policies may be available online or by request. That can make it much easier for patients to compare their treatment with optimal practices for similar situations. When they notice a deviation, they can address it with a doctor to find out what happened.

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.

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.

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Any lawyer can win damages in egregious cases such as operating on the wrong body part. Many firms have the resources to hire experts. But few lawyers truly understand the medical science of medical malpractice litigation. As a result they may fail to recognize a viable case, unwisely pursue a weak case, or stumble in cross-examination of those medical experts.

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