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Queens New York Legal Blog

Woman alleges improper equipment caused vocal chord damage

For patients about to receive medical or surgical treatment in New York City, the level of anxiety that they may be experiencing is likely correlated with the type of procedure they’re scheduled to have performed. Procedures involving the head, neck or internal organs may solicit quite a bit of worry, while surgeries to correct musculoskeletal issues may seem less risky. However, any surgical procedure should be considered serious, as any can produce complications that could cause life-altering results.

A Wyoming woman claims to be experiencing such results after allegedly poor care during your surgery caused permanent damage to her voice and effectively ended her career. In a lawsuit recently filed against a local medical center and its contracted anesthesiologist partner, she claims that not only was the breathing tube she was given during surgery to repair her broken tibia left in too long, but that it never should have been used in the first place. She claims that the manufacturer’s instructions discouraged its use on someone with her medical profile, and that while it was still placed she aspirated both liquids and solids, which ultimately damaged her vocal cords.

Finding a safe nursing home for your loved one

Caring for your elderly family member in Queens can be quite a challenge, especially if you have other obligations in your life such as your work and your children. Many of those that we here at Futterman, Sirotkin and Seinfeld, LLP have helped have faced such a challenge before and ended up turning to a nursing home or senior care center for assistance. That idea may seem appealing to you, yet at the same time, stories of abuse perpetrated by nursing home employees may give you pause. How are you to know if there are facilities in your area that you can entrust your loved one to?

The Center for Medicare Services maintains a ranking database for nursing homes across the country. Its rankings are not based off of feedback received from people who have had loved ones housed in these facilities, but rather its own ranking system. Its final numbers are based off of the following factors:

  •          Past health inspection scores: Specifically, a facility’s health inspection ranking is the average of its last three annual inspections or inspections launched due to complaints.
  •          Quality measures: CMS determines quality measures based on its own set of criteria. The information used to assign these measures is taken from clinical data provided by the facilities themselves.
  •          Staffing ratings: These ratings are assigned by the number of hours a registered nurse is on site at a facility each day, as well as the total number of staffing hours per resident per day.

What is HIPAA?

When you head to the hospital in Kew Gardens, any concern that you may have regarding what could potentially go wrong with your visit is likely limited to complications with your procedure or possibly acquiring an infection. These are the types of hospital errors that typically make headlines. However, there is another type of error whose damage may not be immediately apparent, but can ultimately cause just as much chaos in your life as any type of physical harm: the unauthorized disclosure of information from your medical record.

Fortunately, you are protected from unapproved information sharing by HIPAA. What is HIPAA? According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, it is formally known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. However, many simply refer to it as the Privacy Rule. Simply stated, HIPAA does not allow healthcare providers or insurance plans to disclose information from your medical record without your consent.

Understanding the risks associated with prolonged labor

Most expectant couples in Queens (particularly those who are about to become first-time parents) likely adopt a “the-worst-is-over” attitude towards the end of a pregnancy. However, one major hurdle remains before the arrival of their babies: the delivery. Any number of complications can occur during the delivery process. It stands to reason, then, that the longer a woman remains in labor, the greater the risk there is for delivery complications to occur.

The American Pregnancy Association defines prolonged labor as any time a woman labors for more than 20 hours (14 hours for first-time mothers). There are several reasons why one’s labor may linger longer than expected. These can include:

  •          A baby being abnormally large.
  •          A baby being in a breech presentation.
  •          A mother’s birth canal or pelvis being too small.
  •          A mother carrying multiple babies.

Avoiding the potential of post-operative DVT

When you go in for surgery at a hospital or medical center in Kew Gardens, any concern that you might have of being be the victim of a surgical error likely goes away once your procedure has been performed. Yet as many of the people that we here at Futterman, Sirotkin and Seinfeld, LLP have helped in the past can attest to, problems can easily arise during your post-operative care. Among the more common complications that surgical patients may face is deep vein thrombosis.

DVT is defined as the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins of your pelvis, legs or lower extremities. It most commonly occurs during the period of inactivity after surgery. Along with the common dangers that blood clots present, one formed from DVT can break away and travel up through the body and become lodged in the lungs, causing a potentially fatal condition known as a pulmonary embolism. Information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that as many as 900,000 Americans are affected by DVT/PE every year, with up to 100,000 of those cases being fatal.

Types of surgical errors and their causes

Surgery is supposed to save or improve your life, not endanger it. However, too often, surgeons and other medical staff make minor mistakes with major consequences. Zero risk is impossible, but these common surgical errors are completely avoidable. Be aware of the types and causes, and learn what to do to prevent it from happening to you.

Lawsuit claims VA provider failed to diagnose man’s cancer

Those in Kew Gardens who go to hospitals and healthcare clinics looking to see what might be ailing them no doubt believe in the diagnoses that their clinicians give to them. However, what is often lost in the desire to trust in the skills and expertise of healthcare providers is the fact that they are only human. This makes them subject to both errors in judgment as well as the temptation to allow other factors to influence their decision-making.

A judge recently awarded an Arizona man a $2.5 million award stemming from a medical malpractice lawsuit. The man, a veteran, discovered that he had advanced prostate cancer 11 months after having received an initial exam. His lawsuit alleges that the initial review did reveal abnormalities with his prostate, yet the nurse practitioner from the local VA facility failed to order any follow-up tests.

Detailing the use of chemical restraints

Placing your loved one under the care of a nursing home staff in Queens requires a great deal of trust on your part. Unfortunately, we here at Futterman, Sirotkin and Seinfeld, LLP can attest to the fact that such trust can be easily abused. Those working in nursing homes may often tell you that their resources are strained dealing with the number of residents entrusted to them. Sometimes, caregivers may use that excuse to use potentially dangerous methods to make their jobs easier.

One such method that has been documented by investigators looking into cases of nursing home neglect is the use of chemical restraints. According to federal law (as shared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), a chemical restraint is defined as any drug administered not to treat a medical condition, but rather as a form of discipline or for convenience. Furthermore, it goes on to define “convenience” as anything a facility’s staff does to be able to control or manage a resident’s behavior with a lesser amount of effort.

Was my medication error medical negligence?

Currently, doctors have a list of more than 10,000 medications in their supply of treatment options. Even though medical advancements have meant better treatment for people in the United States, there is a higher risk of adverse drug events, also known as ADEs. The Patient Safety Network estimates that ADEs account for about 700,000 emergency room visits annually.

Lawsuit claims doctor misdiagnosed stroke patient

The patients seen in hospitals and medical centers in Queens likely trust that the education and experience of their doctors will help in diagnosing whatever issues may be ailing them. In some cases, people may come in demonstrating commonly known signs & symptoms of a particular condition, and perhaps already have an idea of what they may be suffering from. Yet if a doctor’s diagnosis contradicts their own opinions, they may instead choose to rely on his or her professional opinion. The trouble is that doctors are not always right.

An Oregon man was forced to learn this lesson the hard way after he was misdiagnosed by a provider at a local hospital. He presented to the facility with all of the classic signs and symptoms of a stroke, including drooling, slurred speech and a facial droop. Yet the radiologist who examined his imaging studies initially stated that he saw nothing abnormal in them. The man was later transferred to another facility, where subsequent scans revealed that he had indeed suffered a stroke.

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