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Cases of Women and Heart Disease in Medical Malpractice

Did you know women account for nearly half of all heart attack-related deaths? This if often due to the fact that women respond differently to heart attacks and are less likely than men to believe they are having one. As a result, they may delay in seeking medical treatment or avoid treatment altogether.

Risk Factors

Although heart disease can result from a number of different causes, there are some risk factors more commonly associated with the condition. Such risk factors include advancing age, obesity, diabetes, smoking, elevated levels of blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides), high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease. Keep in mind, however, that you do not have to have all of these risk factors to fall victim to a heart attack.

The most common form of heart disease is atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty deposits known as plaque. When an area of plaque ruptures, it often causes a blood clot to form that suddenly blocks an artery. When this phenomenon occurs in a heart artery, it results in a heart attack. This is known as acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and getting life saving treatment within the first 30 minutes of onset can help prevent heart damage and death.

Signs of a Heart Attack

Often, individuals may not even realize they are having a heart attack. This is due to the varying nature and degrees of the attacks themselves. It is important, however to be able to recognize certain signs and conditions at the onset of an attack in order to receive proper medical care.

Some of the heart attack signs for women include:

  1. Pain or discomfort (a heaviness or squeezing sensation) in the center of the chest
  2. Pain and discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including arms, neck, back, jaw or stomach
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Cold sweats
  5. Nausea and maybe vomiting
  6. Light headedness

If you experience any of these symptoms (even if they seem minor), call 911 immediately. Do not delay calling 911 to take an aspirin, or if your doctor has already prescribed nitroglycerin tablets, take them as directed as you are calling 911. Find a way to get swiftly and safely to your local emergency room. Once at the hospital, be proactive with your treatment and request a complete cardiac workup.

Causes of Medical Negligence

Mistaking the symptoms

Unfortunately for women, doctors often mistake their heart attack symptoms for those of a panic attack. If this happens they may fail to do a thorough cardiac workup on the patient, resulting in medical negligence.

Not ordering the right tests

If you want to be proactive about your medical treatment once in the hospital for a heart attack, you should insist on a complete cardiac workup if you are having any of the symptoms listed above. Remember, a complete cardiac workup doesn’t just consist of an EKG, but also includes blood tests and recording of the heart’s activity. If the doctor fails to order the proper tests to check for signs of a heart attack, they have committed medical malpractice.

Other tests that can be done while in the emergency room include cardiac catheterization, which is done in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. This test includes placing a small catheter in the artery of the groin or arm and feeding it to the heart. Radio opaque dye is then injected into the coronary arteries and the cardiologist can visualize the arteries directly and look for blockages. Blockages may be mild or severe, and depending on the degree of blockage, the cardiologist may have no recommendations or may call for medications, may use a stent to open up the artery or perform coronary artery bypass grafting.

Be Proactive

Although heart attacks happen suddenly, it is imperative for any individual to know if they are at risk. If you or a loved one suffers from any of the risk factors mentioned above, you can receive a medical evaluation by meeting with a cardiologist. The cardiologist can do non-invasive tests such as a stress test (exercise treadmill test) or a nuclear stress test if you are unable to perform the exercise treadmill test, to see if there are signs or symptoms of ischemic heart disease or blocked arteries.

Keep in mind, that if you go to your primary doctor or other medical specialist and ask to be referred to a cardiologist, they need to refer you immediately. If he or she fails to do so in a timely manner, this could also be considered medical negligence.

If you have questions concerning issues of medical malpractice, or would like to learn more, please visit the Rue & Ziffra website or contact our office for a free consultation. The Florida medical negligence attorneys at Rue & Ziffra have experience in dealing with various types of malpractice cases and are willing to take your call. We also employ an on-location registered nurse available to answer confusing medical questions.

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.

Cases of Women and Heart Disease in Medical Malpractice
Written by: Kim Bouck, Esq.
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Colon Cancer: My Doctor Missed It

The Chance of Medical Malpractice

Did you know colorectal (colon) cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States? Nowadays, many physicians are able to make an early diagnosis of colon cancer, which often leads to a complete cure for a patient. However, if a medical provider does not practice proper care when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients for colon cancer, they may have committed medical malpractice.

For example, if a doctor fails to recommend and order a colonoscopy for a high-risk or suspecting patient, they may have committed malpractice if the patient does develop colon cancer. Also, if a patient has a change in their colon cancer treatment because of a delay in the doctor’s diagnosis; or, if there is metastasis (spread of the cancer from its site of origin), the patient may have a viable medical negligence claim.

Causes and Risks of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer occurs in the colon (the part of the digestive system where the waste material is stored) and the rectum (the end of the colon adjacent to the anus). Together, they form a long, muscular tube called the large intestine. There is no single cause for colon cancer, however almost all cases of colon cancers begin as benign tumors called polyps that form inside this area. If benign polyps are not removed, they can become malignant (cancerous) over time. This is why it is very important for a doctor to request regular screenings and other tests to promptly catch any sign of a polyp before it becomes malignant. If customary medical standards are not taken, medical providers can face serious medical malpractice claims against them.

Even though colorectal cancer can be asymptomatic, many patients experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, tiredness and weakness.

Risk Factors Out of Your Control

Often, developing colon cancer can be out of a person’s control, no matter how health conscious they are. Therefore, risks for this type of cancer often correlate with such factors as a person’s genetic make-up.
Risk factors for developing colon cancer that are out of a patient’s control can include:

  • Having a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Having a personal history of previous colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Having a personal history of other types of cancer, such as breast or ovarian cancers
  • Being older than 50 years old
  • Being of a certain ethnic background – African-Americans have had a higher incidence rate of colorectal cancer than any other ethnic group

Risk Factors You Can Control

Some factors that raise the risk of colorectal cancer that are within your control include:

  • Smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Having a diet that is high in red or processed meats
  • Being overweight
  • Exercising too little

The Importance of Screening

Benign polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps in their early, benign stages. Screening for colon cancer involves testing the stool for hidden blood, typically be way of performing a colonoscopy. This screening process should be started at age 50, (45 for African Americans), for those persons with an average risk for colon cancer and should be repeated every 10 years. People with a higher risk for colon cancer should be screened more frequently as recommended by their gastroenterologist or primary care physician. Although colon cancer can be life-threatening (especially if a doctor negligently fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses a patient) it can be caught and cured with an early diagnosis. Stage I, II and III cancers are considered potentially curable, but in most cases, stage IV cancer is not curable.

Always be proactive with your medical care, urging your physician to promptly order tests and colon screenings. Even if you do not show any symptoms or are considered low risk for colon cancer, your doctor must order the necessary tests if you have any suspicions of having cancer or make a request for one. Again, failing to promptly diagnose and treat a patient for colon cancer can result in medical malpractice on the part of the medical provider.

If you have questions concerning issues of medical malpractice, or would like to learn more, please visit the Rue & Ziffra website or contact our office for a free consultation. The Florida medical negligence attorneys at Rue & Ziffra, have experience in dealing with various types of malpractice cases and are willing to take your call. We also employ an on-location registered nurse available to answer confusing medical questions.

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.

Colon Cancer: My Doctor Missed It!
Written by: Kim Bouck, Esq.
Author: Webmaster / Number of views () / Comments (0)
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Compression Becomes First Step in CPR

According to an article printed in the Daytona Beach News Journal, the American Heart Association has articulated an new guideline for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. Instead of the normal procedure where the airways of a victim are opened first, the new technique has been rearranged, putting chest compressions first, unlocking the airway second and administering breaths third.

American Heart Association officials claim that the rearrangement is a result of new scientific findings that show chest compressions as the essential step for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body.

Because of the change, the association feels that it will now be “much easier for anyone to save a life using CPR.” Instead of having to unlock a victim’s airways and provide them breathes, an individual can now go straight into chest compressions, something that is easier and lest intrusive.

To view and learn the new CPR steps, watch this training video provided by the American Heart Association.

Source: The Daytona Beach News Journal: Compression becomes 1st step in CPR. Anne Geggis, October 19, 2010.

Compression Becomes First Step in CPR
Written by: Kim Bouck, Esq.
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Have I Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice occurs when your doctor or hospital causes you injury by failing to provide acceptable care. If your physician or hospital acted in a way that was not consistent with normal standards, you may have been a victim of Medical Malpractice.

Have I been a Victim of Medical Malpractice? – 10 Questions to ask Yourself

  • Did you or a family member suffer a severe or permanent injury while under the care of a doctor, hospital or other health care provider?
  • Did your doctor keep information from you about your condition or fail to diagnose a surgical risk that caused your injury?
  • Did your insurance company question certain procedures, tests or diagnoses, thereby delaying treatment or keeping you from getting appropriate surgery?
  • Did your doctor delay treatment by failing to test and diagnose a disease in a timely manner?
  • Did your doctor cause an injury to you or your baby during childbirth?
  • Did you take prescription medication that caused an injury?
  • Did you suffer injury because the equipment used during surgery or treatment was faulty, broken or handled improperly?
  • Did your condition worsen because your doctor failed to refer you to a specialist?
  • Did your doctor fail to follow up on an abnormal test result or order a proper test in a timely manner?
  • Did your condition worsen because you were discharged too early from a hospital or other care?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions or are concerned about medical treatment you received, it may be valuable to speak with an attorney knowledgeable with the laws of medical malpractice. Keep in mind that there is a specific Florida time limit, ranging about 2-4 years from the occurrence of malpractice, in which an individual must bring a claim if they want to try and receive benefits.

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.

Have I been a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Written by: Kim Bouck, Esq.
Author: Webmaster / Number of views () / Comments (0)
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Development of an Infection While in the Hospital

How it Can Lead to a Medical Malpractice Claim

Have you or a family member ever been in the hospital and developed an infection after having surgery or some other procedure? The development of a hospital-acquired infection (called a nosocomial infection) is more common than many people may realize, and there may be a chance for a victim to pursue a legal case for medical malpractice against the physician or hospital.

What is a Nosocomial Infection?

As defined by the World Health Organization, a nosocomial infection is“an infection acquired in hospital by a patient who was admitted for a reason other than that infection. This includes infections acquired in the hospital but appearing after discharge, and also occupational infections among staff of the facility.”

Contrary to common perception, a hospital can contain various avenues where a patient can develop unwanted diseases and infections. Some factors that can contribute to infection among hospitalized patients can include:

  • The increasing variety of medical procedures and invasive techniques. As health care providers discover new ways of administering surgeries and other medical procedures, they also can create new routes for infection to spread along.
  • The decrease of immunity among patients. As individuals are spending longer periods of time within a hospital or patient care facility, they tend to lose their immunity to certain infections and viruses. This can make them more susceptible to “catching” infections that other patients or staff members carry.
  • Having poor infection control practices. This is a common contributor to the spread of infection within a hospital, and a common reason for many families to pursue legal advice from a Medical Malpractice attorney. Even though medical providers are held to a certain standard when providing care to a patient, many fail to treat nosocomial infections in a timely or correct manner.

Types of Nosocomial Infections

The four most common types of hospital-acquired infections are urinary infections, surgical site infection, nosocomial pneumonia, and nosocomial bacteraemia.

Urinary Infections – Statistically shown as the most common type of infection a patient can receive while hospitalized. It is often caused by the insertion and use of a catheter.

Surgical Site Infection – A frequent infection characterized by discharge around or emanating from the surgical site.

Nosocomial Pneumonia – A common respiratory infection that can cause significant health deterioration or death in a patient.

Nosocomial Bacteraemia – A small portion of hospital-acquired infections, but also one with the highest mortality rates. It occurs when a patient develops bacteria along the path of a catheter or at other entry sites.

Reasons to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Claim

Codes of conduct for medical practices and standards of care are clearly communicated within the health industry. However, patients often develop infections while in the hospital, putting them at the mercy of their doctor to take correct, remedial action. If a physician or nurse does not properly treat these infections, however, claims for medical malpractice and hospital negligence are often made.

A few negligent actions that can put a physician or other provider at risk for medical malpractice include:

  • Failing to recognize a patient’s infection
  • Failing to treat the infection properly – different types of infections call for different types of treatment
  • Failing to call on and consult with an infectious disease specialist if the infection is complex
  • Failing to take the advice of the infectious disease specialist
  • Failing to treat the infection in a timely manner
  • Ordering the wrong tests to analyze the infection

Keep in mind that, since infection is a known complication of any invasive procedure, just the development of an infection in the hospital is not considered grounds enough to pursue a medical negligence claim. If, however, a procedure causes significant destruction of tissue (leaving you with a permanent injury or deformity), then there may be reason to call a medical malpractice attorney to investigate the infection case and its work up and treatment.

If you have questions concerning issues of medical malpractice, or would like to learn more, please visit the Rue & Ziffra, website or contact our office for a free consultation. The Florida medical negligence attorneys

The above entry is NOT LEGAL ADVICE and should not be intended or construed as such. It is intended only as general information. No individual reading it should act upon it. Reading this entry does not create any relationship between Rue & Ziffra and individuals reading it. If you have questions or concerns, please seek professional legal counsel.

Development of an Infection While in the Hospital
Written by: Kim Bouck, Esq.
Author: Webmaster / Number of views () / Comments (0)
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