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malpractice cases, Chicago wrongful death attorneysEffective communication is an integral and essential part of our everyday lives, but there are few professions in which it can make the difference between life and death; in the medical field, it can and does often lead to the latter. In fact, a recent study on a selection of medical malpractice cases found that communication failures had contributed to nearly 2,000 wrongful deaths over the course of five years. Sadly, this is not a new or uncommon issue.

Communication Failure Not a New Issue

It has been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released the report, To Err is Human, in which researchers found that nearly 100,000 patients die each year from medical mistakes. And more than two decades have passed since Boston Globe health reporter Betsy Lehman died from a chemotherapy overdose because of a communication error.

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superbug, medical scopes, Chicago medical malpractice attorneyOver the past few years, medical scopes have been linked to outbreaks of deadly, antibiotic-resistant "superbug" infections. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already recalled a disinfecting machine, but now one of the three brands of medical scopes used to drain fluids from the pancreatic and bile ducts is being recalled by the manufacturer, Olympus Corporation.

Disinfection and Sterilization Troubles Suspected in Scope Issues

According to a recent report, the bug and spread of infection may be due to the troubles experienced while attempting to sterilize and disinfect the Olympus medical scopes. It is possible that the issues with certain sterilizing machines may play a factor, but the scopes also play a factor, the FDA says. In fact, the organization alleges that they had already provided a warning to the manufacturers regarding their inactivity and delay in finding a solution to the problem.

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excessive surgeries, Chicago medical malpractice attorneysAccording to recent studies, at least 91 percent of all physicians practice defensive medicine. Described as the process of ordering tests or procedures that exceed necessity to diagnose or treat to prevent a lawsuit, this new “face” of medicine can be found across all practices and specialties. But is this potentially driving factor in rising health costs really about preventing lawsuits? Or is it a method of fraud to drive up profits?

The Danger of Unnecessary Procedures

Whether it is a simple incision or a complete surgery, the performance of an unnecessary procedure puts patients at risk. Infection, complications, and the general presence of pain are all matters that may arise; in some cases, those problems can become deadly. For example, an unnecessary surgery can put the patient at risk for an anesthesia reaction, heart failure, hemorrhaging, and post-operative infection. So why do doctors do it?

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residential treatment facilities, Chicago medical malpractice lawyersResidential programs are entrusted with the care and treatment of troubled or disabled youths and adults, but some of them are hiding a dirty little secret. Riddled with claims of abuse and neglect of the very people they are supposed to be helping, they are responsible for more than 100 deaths per year. Worse yet, they are buying their way out of those claims, sweeping the bad publicity under the rug, and allowed to continue operating, despite their outright mistreatment of residents.

Abuse, Neglect, and Death

Tens of thousands of teens and disabled adults are sent to residential treatment programs each year. Though considered a last resort for exhausted and overwhelmed families or schools, facilities like these have allegedly been found responsible for at least 145 deaths over the last three decades. ProPublica recently investigated these deaths to determine what, if any, responsibility might be designated to such facilities. Their results were highly disturbing.

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medical test standards, Chicago medical malpractice attorneysWhen Americans go to the doctor and are at risk for an illness, they are often administered a test. Some of them have tried and true results but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently pointed out just how inaccurate, unreliable, and even potentially dangerous to patients others may be. They are now calling for stricter standards to regulate the use and distribution of medical tests. Unfortunately, those new regulations may be too little too late those that have already suffered an error in diagnosis.

The Gap Problem in Reporting Adverse Events from Medical Tests

Before a test kit can be sold to multiple laboratories, it must be reviewed by the FDA. Once it is approved for distribution, the manufacturer is supposed to report any adverse effects, such as death or serious injury that may have resulted from the use of the test. They may also be required to report defects in their products. However, these same regulations do not apply to all medical tests.

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