Category: Medical and Dental Malpractice

Examples of Dental Negligence and Injuries

  • Permanent or temporary injuries to the nerves of the tongue, jaw, chin and lips, including lingual nerve injury (tongue), inferior alveolar nerve damage (lips, chin and jaw);
  • Permanent or temporary numbness or loss of taste sensation;
  • Permanent or temporary structural injuries to the tongue, jaw, chin or lips;
  • Wrongful death resulting from dental procedures;
  • Injuries or death caused by improper or negligent administration of anesthesia;
  • Failure to detect or diagnose oral cancer;
  • Failure to examine for or diagnose periodontal disease;
  • Injuries associated with root canals using Sargenti Paste (N2);
  • Failed or improper crown and bridge prostheses;
  • Treatment exceeding the scope of consent;
  • Injuries from improper treatment by unlicensed dentists;
  • Dental product liability claims or improper use of dental devices, including dental lasers and silicone implants;
  • Failed dental surgery or oral surgery;
  • Injuries associated with extractions or needlessly extracted teeth;
  • Failed or improper orthodontic procedures on adults and children.
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Medical Abbreviations Placed On Do Not Use List

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has placed certain medical abbreviations on the “do-not-use” list because of their probability of misinterpretation, leading to dosing errors and serious medical malpractice. For exam, “IU” is often used by physicians or others in the medical field to mean “international unit.” However, it is often mistaken for “IV” (intravenous) or the number 10, which could lead to serious mistakes in administering medicine. The Official “Do Not Use” list applies, at a minimum, to all orders and all medication-related documentation that is handwritten or on pre-printed forms. Unfortunately, the medical field is not sufficiently complying: failure to substantially eliminate the use of such abbreviations is one of the most frequent non-compliance findings during Joint Commission reviews.

For the Official “Do Not Use” List.

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How To Protect Yourself From Pharmacy Prescription Errors

What You Can Do It’s not easy for consumers to protect themselves against such errors, but there are steps you can take:

  1. Read the prescription your doctor gives you aloud. Ask the physician to confirm it.
  2. Verify the dosages and drug names with your doctor.
  3. Before going to the pharmacy, write down the dosage and drug names.
  4. Go to a reputable pharmacy, one that has more than a single pharmacist working with clerk and technician helpers. You can contact your state pharmacy board for information. Some will tell you if a pharmacist has been disciplined in the past.
  5. When you pick up the prescription, check the labels and make sure the dosages and drug names match what you have written down.
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Preventing Pressure Ulcers

The federal government has published guidelines on the prevention of pressure ulcers.  In accordance with the federal guidelines, the following steps should be followed by the nursing home staff (or home care provider) to prevent pressure ulcers:

  • Complete a physical on admission to a facility (including skin condition and wounds).
  • Reassess whenever the patient’s condition changes.
  • Use a reliable and standardized tool for doing a risk assessment such as the Braden Scale which is available at: www.bradenscale.com/braden.PDF.
  • Document risk assessment scores and implement prevention procedures and protocols.
  • Assess skin daily.
  • Clean skin at time of soiling–avoid hot water and irritating cleaning agents.
  • Use moisturizers on dry skin.
  • Don’t massage bony prominences (that means tail bones, hips, heels, etc.)
  • Protect skin of incontinent patients from exposure to moisture (which means CHANGE the patient often!).
  • Use lubricants, protective dressings, and proper lifting techniques to avoid skin injury from friction/shear during transferring and turning of clients (don’t drag skin across a bed, or chair – be careful!).
  • Turn and reposition bedbound patients every 2 hours if consistent with overall care goals and use a written schedule for turning and repositioning clients.
  • Use pillows or other devices to keep bony prominences from direct contact with each other.
  • Raise heels of bedbound patients off the bed — don’t use donut-type devices.
  • Keep head of the bed at lowest height possible.
  • Reposition chair or wheelchair bound patients EVERY HOUR. In addition, if the patient is capable have them do small weight shifts every 15 MINUTES.
  • Keep the patient as active as possible, encourage mobilization.
  • Manage nutrition: Consult a dietician and correct nutritional deficiencies by increasing protein and calorie intake and provide A, C, or E vitamin supplements as needed.
  • Manage Hydration: Offer a glass of water with turning schedules to keep patient hydrated.
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Medicare To Stop Paying For Preventable Hospital Errors

The Bush Administration announced that Medicare will no longer pay the extra costs of treating preventable errors, injuries and infections that occur in hospitals. Until this policy change, Medicare covered expenses stemming from hospital errors. Privare insurers are now also making a similar policy change in an attempt to save money. The new policy does poses some interesting questions including: 1) will it promote better hospital safety thereby reducing the rate of hospital error; 2) who is going to pay for medical expenses incurred for treating injuries caused by hospital error; and 3) who is going to determine if a medical expense was due to a preventable hospital error.

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