Articles Posted in Hot Button Issues

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An article posted yesterday on Huffington Post examines how Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will force Americans to be treated as a diagnosis and not an individual with personal or legal rights. This past May, Tom Price, now Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, released the ‘Empowering Patients First Act,’ his alternative to healthcare reform known as the Affordable Care Act.

Price’s plan, known as the Empowering Patients First Act, would require doctors to administer medical treatment for symptoms based on a set of guidelines established by the Secretary of Health & Human Services in conjunction with a currently unidentified  ‘qualified physician census organization.’ According to Price, these clinical guidelines would be updated every two years and would be made available to the public. Should the Empowering Patients First Act pass, Americans would no longer be treated as an individual, but rather as a set of symptoms resulting in a one size fits all diagnosis.

Why Americans Should Worry

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The legal team at Levin & Perconti has reached a $3.5 million settlement for their client in a medical malpractice case. Their client was seriously and permanently injured while in the care of a Chicago psychiatric hospital. The man was admitted to the hospital because he was suicidal, yet he was allowed to be near hazardous cleaning chemicals that were not secured. The chemicals were used for stripping floors in the psychiatric unit of the hospital. The man suffered severe internal burns after ingesting the chemicals that were left unsecured.

Improper Handling of Hazardous Chemicals

A cleaning service was using chemicals to strip the floor, but left them within reach of patients in the psychiatric ward. OSHA, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, provides guidelines regarding the use of hazardous chemicals. Dangerous chemicals must be properly used and stored. In this instance, the situation was made worse because the chemicals were left in an area where psychiatric patients were located. Many of these patients may have diminished mental capacity or, as in this case, have suicidal ideations. Chemicals of this type could cause severe injuries or death.

Chemical Ingestion
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Many people have trouble sleeping at night. In fact, there are so many people affected by sleep problems that there are clinics dedicated to diagnosing and treating the situation. A sleep study should not be dangerous, yet it was harmful for one woman. The woman allegedly suffered facial injuries due to the negligent care of a doctor, hospital, and sleep center. A lawsuit was filed in Cook County against Advocate South Suburban Sleep Center, Tinley Park Sleep Center, LLC, and a doctor, seeking damages of more than $50,000 from each party for her injuries.

Sleep Study Injury

The woman in this case took part in a sleep study conducted through the sleep center associated with Advocate South Suburban Hospital. The purpose of a sleep study is for a patient to be observed and monitored during sleep to determine the cause of sleep problems. In this case, the center utilized a face mask as part of the procedure. The mask was affixed to the woman’s face; however, it caused burns and lacerations. The lawsuit states that the staff failed to properly monitor the woman while she was undergoing the procedure.

Serious Injuries
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Bacterial meningitis is a serious medical condition, and one that requires immediate diagnosis and treatment. A recent malpractice lawsuit was filed by the father of a girl who died after her condition was not properly diagnosed or treated. The lawsuit was filed against Waukegan Illinois Hospital, Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, and several doctors. According to the suit, the girl went to Vista Ambulatory Care Center, because of a streptococcus pyogenes infection. Negligence and malpractice were reportedly responsible for her death two days later.

Streptococcus Pyogenes

Streptococcus pyogenes is a type of bacterial infection, which is part of the group of strep infections known as GAS, group A streptococcus. GAS infections occur to approximately 700 million people worldwide every year. Of these, death is the result in about 25% of the reported cases. The infection is very swift and can quickly turn into sepsis, infection of the blood. This can cause rapid death, as the infection spreads to the major organs and tissues of the body. Once sepsis takes over, treatment is difficult. For these reasons, GAS infections must be diagnosed and treated quickly.
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Dentists, just like doctors, are required to provide patients with proper care. When you visit the dentist you trust that they will help you, rather than hurt you. A woman recently filed a lawsuit claiming that her dentist was negligent, causing her serious pain and harm. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County against a Northbrook dentist and dental practice. The suit requests a trial by jury and is seeking damages of more than $50,000.

Fractured Tooth

The woman in this case states that she had dental work done by the dentist, which included a crown, as well as several other adjustments to teeth in her mouth. The woman was in severe pain after the procedure and visited another dentist for an emergency appointment. Upon examination by the emergency dentist, it was found that the woman had a fractured tooth and inflamed roots on three teeth. As a result of the fractured tooth, the woman suffered severe jaw pain, headaches, nausea, numbness of her tongue, mouth pain, and the inability to chew on one side of her mouth.

Negligence by Dentist

The woman in this case suffered injuries because of the negligent actions of the dentist. The dentist is held to a high standard, and must take precautions to ensure that patients are not injured while in his care. The woman claims that the dentist made adjustments to several of her teeth without her knowledge or approval. Further, the adjustments made were unnecessary, according to the other dentist. The dental work done was so poor that the lawsuit says it constitutes negligence.
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With health costs rising and health care satisfaction decreasing, a New York based health system has begun a new program to provide refunds. Geisinger Health System started a new refund option for some patients at their hospitals. The refund is available to a number of patients who received specific types of treatments including some surgeries. The refunds are available for a number of reasons and the patients themselves help to determine the amount of money they should get back.

Patient Guarantee

A guarantee for patients is a new concept, but is being tested in this particular hospital system. The idea is that a patient could request a portion of their money back if they were unsatisfied. The refund portion would only be based on the portion of payment that the patient has paid, which is called the co-pay. Guarantees have been around for years, but typically only with other types of products and services.
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Vaccinations are usually considered safe for most children. They are necessary for the majority of kids because they can prevent the contraction of some serious childhood illnesses. While vaccines are often safe, each patient must be examined and a determination made prior to administration. A mother recently filed a lawsuit alleging that a doctor and medical office was negligent when ordering vaccinations for her child. The vaccines were administered according to doctor’s orders and the child died as a result of an adverse reaction. The lawsuit, filed in Cook County, seeks damages of more than $50,000.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are typically required for children at certain intervals and prior to entering school. However, children must first be examined by their physician to ensure that the vaccine is safe. Although rare, some children may be allergic to the ingredients in some of the common vaccines. The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides guidelines regarding when vaccinations should be withheld. Anyone who previously suffered any negative reactions to a dose of the vaccine in the past should not be given another dose. Those who have severe asthma or a variety of allergies must be further evaluated before administering a vaccine.
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A report recently issued by the Government Accounting Office, GOA, confirms that hospitals continue to have a serious problem with patient safety. According to the report, about 98,000 people die every year, 20 people each hour in the United States, because of a preventable medical mistake. What may be most startling is that the report has not seemingly prompted action to resolve the many problems plaguing our medical facilities. In fact, the report seems to agree that there are safety concerns for patients and states that hospitals and medical facilities have not resolved the problems.

Medical Mistakes are Preventable

Medical mistakes are now considered the third most common cause of death in the United States. Medical errors include a variety of problems such as medication mistakes, surgical errors, diagnostic mistakes, infections, falls, and hand off problems. The sad truth is that these are serious problems that do not need to occur. They often do happen, however, for a number of reasons. Understaffing is one major reason why medical accidents occur. Care providers are busy and may not take the time necessary to provide proper care. Medical facilities may not provide enough training to employees, rendering them less than adequate.

Medication Errors
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The family of a man who died as a result of a heart attack filed a lawsuit against his doctor and hospital for alleged medical negligence. The man visited the hospital with complaints of chest pain and was examined by the doctor at Adventist LaGrange Memorial Hospital. The doctor diagnosed the man with possible esophagitis. However, the man died of a heart attack a week later. According to the lawsuit, the misdiagnosis caused improper treatment and this lack of treatment led to his death.

Misdiagnosis of Serious Heart Disease
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A man has filed a lawsuit in Cook County alleging medical malpractice on the part of his podiatrist. The man had implanted joints in his feet, which had loosened, causing pain. The podiatrist removed the implants but did not replace them with a stabilizing mechanism. As a result of the botched surgery, the man suffered foot and ankle pain along with limited mobility. The initial problem, degenerative disease, should not have originally been treated with a surgical implant because it is not recommended for this type of use. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $50,000.

Degenerative Disease
Degenerative disease is also known as osteoarthritis. This disease commonly affects joints in the body and can be very painful and debilitating. It often impacts the feet, due in part to the constant wear and tear over time. The joints in the feet as well as the ankles may swell and become stiff and difficult to move. The typical treatment for this problem includes medications, physical therapy, orthotics, and weight reduction. In this case, the man claims that the podiatrist should not have performed implant surgery and as a result, the man’s condition worsened. In fact, the surgery left him with persistent foot pain and a loss of mobility.
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