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New CDC Report Shows U.S. Maternal Death Rate is Still Terrible

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System, for the first time in more than a decade, has released a new estimate of the maternal death rate in the U.S., and the numbers aren’t good. After a plea from medical researchers and women’s advocate groups surged in 2016 regarding huge problems with how maternal deaths were being inaccurately reported or not reported, the new data published on January 30, 2020, shows that the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live birth in 2018.

According to the report, in 2018:

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Wisconsin Woman Died Soon After Leaving Emergency Room

A daycare teacher who was waiting to be seen in a Milwaukee hospital emergency room passed away just a few hours after she decided to leave and try an urgent care facility instead. News reports distributed by CNN on January 17, 2020 say she sought emergency medical care at Froedtert Hospital after experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath.

According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner report, after waiting more than two hours, the 25-year-old left and went to seek help at an urgent care. She then collapsed as she arrived at the facility parking lot, and was pronounced dead not long after.

stage 3 lung cancer claimed life of mother

Woman’s Estate Wins $8.1 Million For Failed Cancer Diagnosis and Wrongful Death, Represented by Levin & Perconti

In 2016, Levin & Perconti attorneys John J. Perconti, Michael F. Bonamarte IV and Daniel A. Goldfaden filed a lawsuit on behalf of the estate of a woman who should have been diagnosed with cancer when she was first X-rayed in 2013. It wasn’t until doctors at another hospital diagnosed her with stage 3 lung cancer in October 2014 that her illness was known. The delayed diagnosis caused Althea Wright’s disease to progress and go untreated. Sadly, she later died in 2015 at the age of 68. The suit was filed on behalf of Wright’s two children.

During a week-long trial in December 2019, a Cook County jury determined the estate of the deceased radiologist, Palmer Jane Blakley, MD, and the corporation tied to her closed practice must pay $8.125 million to remedy the missed cancer diagnosis. Blakley reviewed Wright’s scans, which showed a “rounded density” in her left lung, but she did not identify the mass or note any abnormality in Wright’s chart.

medical malpractice

 Neil Armstrong’s Secret “Hush” Money Settlement as Reported by The New York Times

Five years ago, at Mercy Health – Fairfield, a community hospital located in Cincinnati, retired American astronaut Neil Armstrong underwent a heart surgery with a fatal outcome. On July 23, 2019, around the same time media outlets celebrated the American astronaut’s 50th-anniversary moon walk, The New York Times published a story stating that after Mr. Armstrong died, his family threatened legal action against the hospital believing medical negligence was the cause. Armstrong’s two sons pointed blame at incompetent post-surgical care for taking their father’s life. The medical dispute was followed by a 2014 secret settlement – worth millions.

Legal documents (some now publicly available), along with a pleading personal note from the anonymous sender, was sent anonymously to The New York Times in 2019. The paperwork showed the hospital privately paid the Armstrong family $6 million to settle the family’s dispute over his cause of death and avoid the public shaming of the hospital’s wrongdoing. Several medical reports and analysis of when and how any medical mistakes impacted Mr. Armstrong’s death were also discovered, in which hospital officials used the pseudonym “Ned Anderson” for Mr. Armstrong after being fearful of any publicity surrounding his wrongful death.

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Information About Sepsis Dangers and Sepsis-Associated Deaths in Hospital Settings 

When a person’s immune system becomes compromised, the body can respond in deadly ways, such as septicemia, a lethal condition more commonly known as – sepsis. A 2019 Critical Care Medicine investigative report confirmed that sepsis is highly present in hospitals and that it contributes significantly to patient deaths, some preventable. About one-third of people who develop sepsis will die from it, and as many as 65 percent of those people were being treated for another issue in a hospital setting at the time of their sepsis diagnosis.

Sepsis occurs when a person develops a bacterial infection in their bloodstream. It can happen to any patient, at any age. For those who survive, many will be left in a life-altering state and battle conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and fatigue, organ dysfunction, brain and heart conditions, and disabling amputations. Family members and caregivers may also become exhausted and depressed due to the difficult recovery and therapies their loved one now requires. 

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New Survey Shows Women Deserve Better Treatment While in Labor 

After the review of a recent survey of American women, Giving Voice to Mothers (GVtM), conducted by both clinicians and researchers using World Health Organization frameworks, it is now known that one out of six women surveyed reported being mistreated while in labor.

Examples of their mistreatment included:

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Hospitalized Man’s Life Support Decision Made by the Wrong Family  

On May 13, 2019, a social worker from Mercy Hospital was busy making calls and seeking relatives of a patient identified by Chicago police as Alfonso Bennet. The man had been hospitalized in the ICU after being severely beaten. He required a ventilator to breathe and was nearly unrecognizable to his supposed sisters, who soon came to visit and make critical medical decisions on his behalf, such as removing him from life support.

Soon after family members permitted doctors to perform a tracheotomy, the man did pass away, and his alleged sisters made funeral arrangements. It was then that the real Alfonso Bennet was found still alive and the now deceased man identified by police became a mystery.

blood pressure diagnosis

Blood Pressure Disorders in Pregnant and Postpartum Women Should Be Detected and Treated  

Emerging data by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Maternal Mortality Study Group continues to prove that too many mothers are dying or suffering from preventative or treatable pregnancy complications. Specifically, disorders related to hypertension (high blood pressure) in pregnancy and postpartum timeframes remain common and a leading cause of maternal mortality and infant morbidity worldwide.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has identified four major types of hypertensive pregnancy disorders, which can range from less to more severe, and typically occur after 20 weeks gestation.

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Electronic Health Record Issues Serve Important Purpose in Malpractice Cases

An American Journal of Emergency Medicine study found an emergency room doctor will make approximately 4,000 computer clicks related to electronic health or medical records (EHR) over the course of one single shift. Although the evolution of a medical record turned electronic has been positioned to save money, eliminate mistakes in medicine and bring higher-quality and transparent care to patients, the painful truth and untruths of EHRs and related technologies continue to be known as physicians express angst and sometimes fear of using the systems.

Today, 96 percent of hospitals have adopted the patient and medical care tracking technology so there is no doubt room for user error sits ever-so present for billions of Americans, putting them at risk for death and serious injury. Software glitches and other flaws can also go unseen and contribute to disastrous patient safety and privacy issues.

“To know that this happens is our country, that’s unacceptable.” 

-Sue Sheridan, patient safety advocate, in To Err Is Human

The medical malpractice attorneys of Levin & Perconti recently watched To Err Is Human, a newly released documentary showing the frequency and impact of medical errors upon American families. To see the facts relating to the frequency and severity of medical errors combined with the heart wrenching story of a family forever changed by these mistakes has left a lasting impression on all of us.

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