Philadelphia Pennsylvania Personal Injury Law Blog

PSMA PET scans may be flawed

Doctors in Pennsylvania and throughout the country may rely on PET imaging to help diagnose prostate cancer. However, some professionals are saying that it may have problems when it comes to accurately diagnosing patients. Those who are not diagnosed correctly may also experience changes in their treatment plans that may not be necessary. This is because tissue in other parts of the body such as the bowels and kidney could have high levels of prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) expression.

A study was published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine that analyzed 407 cases in which PSMA PET scans were used. It was discovered that the uptake was higher than background levels in 98.5 percent of cases. Despite this, PET imaging is still considered to be an effective way to diagnose prostate cancer and determine how advanced it is. The research simply indicates that doctors should be aware that mistakes are possible while using this tool and that it shouldn't be solely used to diagnose a patient.

Traumatic brain injuries alter family dynamics

If a beloved family member was in an accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the entire family is affected by the aftermath. For many families, the loving relationships they shared with the injured person are irrevocably altered.

A TBI can disrupt a marriage and even lead to a divorce. Such may be the case whether the victim is one of the spouses or the parent of an injured child.

Various factors can lead to medication errors

When Philadelphia patients are prescribed medication for a troubling condition, they often hope and trust that the medicine will improve their health and well-being. However, when medication errors occur, the consequences can be serious for patients. There are a range of issues that can affect the likelihood of a medication error, and medical staff can improve safety by keeping an eye on them.

One of the most common medication errors involves recording a prescription on the wrong patient's record. Both hospitals and medical clinics use electronic health records or EHRs, but it can be all too easy to record an order on the wrong person's file. One study found that, in a hospital with 1,500 beds, an average of 14 medication orders are placed each day for the wrong patient. When software solutions require additional verification of the patient's identity, mistakes were reduced considerably. In other cases, the interface with which physicians interact to issue a prescription can cause confusion. Physicians may enter the concentration of a particular medication in the area for a patient's daily dosage and vice versa.

Inherent bias against people of color can affect pain management

Chronic pain can drastically affect many areas of someone's life. It can make it harder to get good sleep. The exhaustion that results can affect cognitive performance and mood. Chronic pain can also affect someone's ability to perform their job. The pain may be so distracting that focusing mentally is difficult, or the pain may impact someone's physical ability to perform the job.

There are many other ways that pain impacts someone's life, and they may differ from person to person. What's important to understand is that chronic pain is debilitating and can lead to depression and other serious mental health concerns, including suicidal ideation. When doctors fail to adequately assist patients with chronic pain, it can negatively affect their overall prognosis and may increase their risk of death by suicide.

Burnout to blame for many medical errors

Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the world. According to recent studies, many cases of it arise because doctors and nurses are burned out. Pennsylvania residents should know about a national survey that claims that more than half of all doctors in the U.S. are burned out. This survey, which was published in July, involved nearly 6,700 clinic and hospital physicians.

More than 10 percent admitted that they made a significant medical error in the three months prior to the survey. These errors included technical mistakes, errors in medical judgment and misdiagnoses. Burned-out doctors were more liable to prescribe the wrong drugs or the wrong dosage, order too many or too few lab tests and cause patients to fall or become infected.

Minor brain injuries can cause major damage

Suffering any kind of brain injury is a serious matter, and requires direct, timely medical treatment to minimize the damage to the victim. Of course, major brain injuries are the most dangerous, but they are also the easiest to identify, because the victim will almost certainly present clear symptoms that indicate something is seriously wrong.

However, mild brain injuries often cause more far-reaching destruction in the lives of victims than they expect, precisely because they are more difficult to recognize and diagnose.

When doctors don't listen to patients, they can make mistakes

You trust your physician with your health and the well-being of your family. Whether you're visiting for a minor illness or an annual physical, you expect your doctor to listen to you and help determine the best way to preserve (or regain) your health. Most patients believe that their doctors will always do what is best for them, but sometimes that isn't the case.As more hospitals and medical practices become parts of massive corporations, patient care and relationships suffer. Doctors are now under pressure to see as many patients as possible in a shift.

Long explanations or discussions will decrease that productivity, potentially causing issues for the doctor involved. That can lead to doctors rushing, ignoring or cutting off patients. The end result can be misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose someone in a timely manner.

U.S. has highest maternal death rate in developed world

Doctors in Pennsylvania and across the United States aren't doing enough to protect mothers during childbirth, according to a new study. In fact, researchers found that the U.S. is the most dangerous developed country for expecting mothers. Furthermore, the nation's maternal death and injury rates are getting worse.

The investigation found that over 50,000 women suffer serious childbirth-related injuries each year. Of those, around 700 die. Worse, at least 50 percent of the injuries and deaths were attributed to inadequate medical care, meaning that they could have been prevented. As a result, the U.S. had a maternal death and injury rate of 26.5 per 100,000 births in 2015, which is the worst rate in the developed world. In comparison, the maternal death and injury rates in countries like France, Germany and Japan have been improving.

Tips for caregivers of brain injury patients

Brain injuries are not just devastating for the victims but also for their family members and other loved ones. Often, family members become the primary caregivers of traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients in the weeks and months following the medical event affecting their loved ones.

Below are some tips for getting through the uncertain days and weeks following your loved one's TBI.

Breast cancer detection technologies improve

Breast cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in Pennsylvania as the most common cancer among women that accounts for one-quarter of all cancer cases around the world. Early detection has made major improvements in the detection and treatment of breast cancer, and it has a survival rate higher than that of other malignancies. However, by further improving the detection and treatment of cancer, scientific advances can help to prevent additional deaths.

One such advance in the detection of breast cancer was announced by scientists who created a computer-assisted system to allow more difficult-to-find breast cancers to be pinpointed. Some of these cancers have edges that blend into the surrounding tissue, making them difficult to see through traditional diagnostics used in mammography. Others appear to look more like benign growths, but respond to other testing substances like malignant tumors. By reducing misdiagnosis and undetected cases of cancer, this system can help to save lives and prevent the further development of cancerous tumors.

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