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Queens New York Legal Blog

Bedsore risks for nursing home residents

When you have a parent or other elder loved one living in a New York nursing home, you likely expect that he or she will receive regular, adequate care, but unfortunately, this is not always the case in many nursing home and assisted living environments. At Futterman, Sirotkin & Seinfeld, LLP, we understand that nursing home residents with mobility issues need to reposition themselves periodically to avoid developing bedsores. We also recognize that many nursing home residents do not get the mobility help they need, which can potentially lead to a wide range of medical complications.

Per the Mayo Clinic, bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are particularly common among people who are unable to move or spend much time out of bed, and they are more common on certain parts of the body than others. Often found on the hips, heels, ankles, buttocks and other bony parts of the body, bedsores typically develop when the skin covering these areas undergoes exposure to prolonged pressure.

2 common anesthesia errors

Having an anesthesiologist place you under anesthesia can prove highly unnerving, but more than 40 million patients across New York and the nation are “put under” every year. At Futterman, Sirotkin & Seinfeld, LLP, we recognize that anytime medical professionals place you under anesthesia, you face certain dangers, and there is potential for error and hardship anytime you receive treatment using anesthesia.

According to Elcam Safety, medical errors are alarmingly common in hospitals and other medical environments these days, and many medical mistakes involve errors made using anesthesia. While some anesthesia errors can lead to only minor or moderate injuries or complications, others can prove far more serious and can even lead to death.

What risks are associated with forceps deliveries?

When you check into a New York hospital in anticipation of giving birth, your main goal is probably to have a smooth, easy delivery so you can leave soon after with a happy, healthy baby. Regrettably, though, not all births are simple and seamless, and when they become particularly difficult, your physician may need to use forceps to help remove your baby from the birth canal.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a forceps delivery, as the name implies, involves a physician using a tong-like medical device to help extract your baby from the birth canal. While certain circumstances may warrant a forceps delivery, there are risks involved with having one. Your doctor may decide to move forward with a forceps delivery if, for example, your labor is failing to progress as it should, or if your baby might face danger if he or she remains in the birth canal any longer.

Surgeon fined $2 million in malpractice case

When you go in for surgery, you place your life in the hands of those operating on you. You may go into the operating room with the notion that the surgeon performing the procedure will give you their undistracted attention and concentrate fully on your operation. Yet, distractions occur and some medical professional’s thirst for more money may have them dividing their attention amongst a variety of things while performing your procedure. 

An orthopedic surgeon in Syracuse was recently convicted of malpractice after it was discovered that he had performed an alarming 14 operations in a one-day period. This shocking practice was discovered when a woman filed complaints against the surgeon for causing permanent damage during a hip replacement six years ago. It was found that she was the sixth patient the surgeon had operated on that day. An investigation found that the surgeon would begin a surgery, finish the most critical part of the operation and then leave the room to begin a procedure on another patient. 

What is Legionnaires’ disease and how is it dangerous?

Imagine being admitted to the hospital for a procedure or treatment expecting to feel better when you leave, only to get sicker from an infection you acquired while hospitalized. You and other New York residents may be interested in learning about Legionnaires’ disease in healthcare settings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires’ disease is a serious form of pneumonia that is caused by the Legionella bacteria. This bacterium thrives in freshwater and can be especially dangerous if it is present in a building’s water system. In fact, healthcare-associated Legionnaires’ outbreaks are particularly concerning because many patients who visit the hospital are already compromised. You typically cannot contract Legionnaires’ disease from contact with other patients; rather, the bacterium is inhaled through tiny airborne water droplets. Those who are particularly at risk include cancer patients, the elderly, current or former smokers, those with chronic lung disease or patients with compromised immune systems.

Nursing homes often lack adequate staff

Watching your parents age and become less able to take care of themselves can prove tremendously difficult, and so, too, can making the decision to place one or both of them into a nursing home or assisted living facility. At Futterman, Sirotkin & Seinfeld, LLP, we recognize that many nursing homes across New York and the nation lack adequate staff, and that this can dramatically affect the quality of care your loved one will receive while living in them.

According to PBS, understaffing at nursing homes is a prevalent problem across the United States, and the administrators at many such residential environments lie to the government about exactly how many staff members they have working at a given time. While the understaffing problem can impact the level of care residents receive anytime, it appears to be an especially serious issue on weekends.

Miscommunication may lead to medical errors

When patients get ready to undergo a surgical procedure or are seen to receive a medical diagnosis, they rely on the medical professionals to take care of them. Although people may believe that the surgeons, assistants and physicians operating on them will perform to the best of their ability, medical mistakes and errors can and do happen. Medical errors come in third as a leading cause of death, following heart disease and cancer. What causes medical errors and what can be done to minimize their effect on patients?

A study released by UC San Francisco reported that improved communication between patients and medical professionals can reduce errors by up to 30%. Each patient’s healthcare is comprised of an interdisciplinary team made up of physicians, specialists, nurses and pharmacists. Communication is critical amongst these professionals, as they exchange information regarding patient symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, medications, allergies and adverse reactions. 

Study: Misdiagnosis more common than some may think

Americans put their trust in medical professionals who treat them. In fact, nurses and other medical professionals are some of the most trusted people in the country.

Studies show, however, the a surprising number of people who are seen in emergency rooms and outpatient clinics across the country are given the wrong diagnosis or leave the facility without getting a diagnosis at all. 

Is your parent being chemically restrained?

If you became forced to place your parent in a New York nursing home because of his or her age, chronic illness or deteriorating condition, you likely worry about the care (s)he receives there. Unfortunately, you have good reason for your concern. The results of a recent investigation show that many nursing homes engage in illegal chemical restraint practices.

Human Rights Watch conducted the investigation of some 1500 nursing homes nationwide, and the results were shocking. Approximately 30% of them abused their dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients by dosing them with antipsychotic drugs that no doctor had prescribed for them. The most frequently used drugs consisted of the following:

  1. Haloperidol
  2. Risperidone
  3. Seroquel

Medical errors the nation’s third-most-common cause of death

No one knows your body quite like you do, so when you feel unwell, you probably trust your instincts and visit your New York doctor so he or she can figure out what is wrong and recommend a course of treatment. Unfortunately, though, some patients find out the hard way that doctors, like everyone else, are not immune to making mistakes. At Futterman, Sirotkin & Seinfeld, LLP, we understand that physician errors are a serious concern for many patients, but we also recognize that there are certain things you can do to help avoid having a medical mistake wreak havoc on your life.

According to CNBC, medical errors come in many forms, but they have become so common in American health care environments that they now trail only behind cancer and heart disease as the leading causes of death in the United States. The exact number of Americans losing their lives to medical errors is difficult to pinpoint, however, although estimates suggest that this number falls somewhere between about 250,000 and 440,000.

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