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Ann Arbor Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Understanding placental abruptions and mothers' rights

Health care providers have a significant responsibility when they are caring for a pregnant mother. They don't just have to monitor her condition, they have to watch out for the health of the baby as well. The slightest negligence on the part of a doctor or nurse in this context can easily lead to any number of birth injuries.

One condition for which medical professionals need to be on the lookout is detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall. The placenta is the organ that provides a fetus with nourishment. Sometimes, however, it can separate from the uterus. Such instances are known as placental abruptions.

Nursing home neglect and patients' legal rights

Overmedicating and under-medicating, as we discussed in our last post, are just two of many types of neglect and abuse that may befall nursing home patients. As our readers will likely know, senior citizens in assisted living situations are particularly vulnerable to nursing home neglect and abuse, due in part to their level of dependence on their caregivers.

With more than 20 percent of Michigan's elderly residents in nursing homes suffering from negligence, according to a recent study, the problem is not something to be taken lightly or accepted as if it's just a part of life. In fact, state law provides clear and unambiguous rights and protections for nursing home patients. Some of the rights have to do with patients' access to information. These include:

  • The right to receive copies of their medical records.
  • The right to know who is taking responsibility for their care, and who is actually providing it.
  • The right to have medical bills explained to them.
  • The right to communicate privately with anyone, including doctors and lawyers.

Is your elderly relative being over medicated in a nursing home?

There's no question that modern medications have worked wonders for Ann Arbor residents of all ages. Senior citizens in particular often rely on daily medications to manage conditions and maintain their quality of life. Those in assisted living facilities will commonly rely on caregivers to provide them with the correct medications at the correct dosages as part of their care.

For this reason, however, residents are also vulnerable to over medicating or under medicating when the staff of a nursing home neglect to follow the directions associated with medications. In some cases, patients may be receiving medications not even intended for their conditions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' website offers a report that is likely to leave readers asking themselves: Is my loved one receiving the right medications at the right doses?

Serious medical mistakes call for serious legal action

As we discussed in our last blog post, not all negligence is equal. Sometimes a medical provider's actions (or inactions) amount to gross negligence. Not only is this likely to result in serious consequences for Ann Arbor victims, but gross negligence may also change the way evidence is handled in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Take the example of a wrong-site surgery. In other words, you went into the hospital suffering from appendicitis, and the hospital removed your gall bladder, or maybe a kidney. Or perhaps they performed the correct procedure, but forgot to remove a surgical implement from your body afterwards. Maybe you underwent a major surgery with a lengthy recovery, incurring significant medical expenses, only to find that your condition had been misdiagnosed in the first place.

Understanding gross negligence in medical malpractice

Last week's post about the Michigan doctor who intentionally misdiagnosed cancer in his patients in order to bill them for expensive treatments (which in fact left many of them in a worsened medical condition) was different from the kind of stories we see on a day-to-day basis. This wasn't a case where a doctor tried to do his or her best to help the patient. This wasn't a case where a lack of training or unclear policies at a hospital lead to injury or illness. This was something much worse.

In fact, the law itself draws an important distinction in more extreme types of medical malpractice cases. Let's take a look at what is known as "gross negligence" within the context of medical malpractice. This is intended as general information only, not as specific legal advice for anyone who has suffered injury due to a provider's gross negligence.

Michigan doctor intentionally misdiagnosed patients with cancer

We've blogged in the past here on our Ann Arbor medical malpractice law blog about doctors who fail to provide an accurate diagnosis due to negligence. Some of their defenders will respond that they're only human and not immune to mistakes. Nevertheless, we need to recognize the rights of victims in these cases to seek compensation for their losses through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

We might also point out that because doctors are human, some may fall prey to vices like greed. They may abuse their power to the detriment of their patients. An extreme example from right here in Michigan recently made national headlines.

Doctor shortage could lead to medical malpractice

Michiganders who go to the doctor expect prompt and attentive care that will uncover any medical conditions that require further attention, and rightly so. After all, doctors go through years of intense education and training before they are allowed to practice. On an everyday basis, these men and women hold the lives of others in their hands.

Unfortunately, far too many doctors are overworked and fatigued. Recent reports have indicated that this problem might only get worse, as Michigan is expected to see a doctor shortage in the coming years. In fact, recent estimates suggest that the state will need 12 percent more doctors in the next 15 years. Others claim that there are enough doctors now, but say that they are clustered in urban areas, leaving rural individuals without adequate care.

Why is failure to prevent bedsores a problem in nursing homes?

Ann Arbor residents have likely heard the term "bedsores" before, especially if they have elder relatives in assisted living facilities. It may sound relatively minor compared to many of the shocking, headline-grabbing stories we hear all too often of nursing home neglect and abuse.

The truth is that bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are not only a serious condition, but they may also be a warning sign that neglect in a relative's care is more widespread than is otherwise apparent. So it's worth asking, to be clear, just what causes bedsores? How does one prevent them, and what should be done if you notice a failure to prevent bedsores with one of your elder relatives?

Understanding the root of many birth injuries: Hypoxia

Cerebral palsy, as we've been discussing in recent weeks, is a condition that can result from a doctor's negligence during delivery. However, cerebral palsy is just one of a number of birth injuries that can develop from the same root cause. Let's take a closer look at that cause this week.

When a baby doesn't receive adequate oxygen flow to the brain -- whether due to a complication before delivery, during it or even afterwards -- the medical term for this is hypoxia. Hypoxia in many cases can be mild, something from which a baby can fully recover. In recent years, medical science has progressed rapidly in identifying and treating hypoxia. If a doctor recognizes what is happening quickly and responds appropriately, stabilizing the flow of oxygen, the baby may not necessarily suffer serious injury.

Supporting parents in cerebral palsy-related lawsuits

Last week on our Ann Arbor medical malpractice law blog, we discussed the topic of cerebral palsy. This week, let's look a little more closely at the diagnosis itself. Because the condition may or may not be a result of birth injuries, it's important that parents have professional guidance during this stage.

Cerebral palsy, in some situations, is a result of a negligent doctor's actions (or inaction) during delivery. Perhaps the delivery room doctor failed to make sure that the newborn was receiving adequate oxygen to the brain. Or he or she may have made mistakes during the delivery process that lead to this condition. Either way, the brain injury is a source of serious symptoms.

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