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Kansas City Personal Injury Law Blog

Accidents can happen when moving patients

Much of the time, Kansas City residents may think of medical malpractice as something that happens when a doctor makes a mistaken diagnosis or misses something in the course of a complicated surgery. However, the reality is that medical negligence can happen under much more routine circumstances as well. While even medical staff may not think of it as they do it, even simple tasks, like moving a patient, can seriously harm the patient if the staff makes a mistake.

By way of example, nurses, aides and other staff often use an automatic lift, like a Hoyer lift, to move a patient from a bed to a chair, or even from one bed to another. Before moving a patient, the staff needs to make sure the patient is in the proper physical and mental health to be transferred. Likewise, the staff also should verify that the equipment is working properly before trying a move.

Unusually cold temps led to rush hour mess

The Kansas City area experienced an unusually cold Halloween. In fact, it marked the second coldest October 31 over the city's 130 plus years of existence. Along with the cold weather came icy conditions on the city's roads, which in turn seems to have contributed to a large number of auto accidents.

The Kansas City Police reported that they responded to 116 accidents during the hours of the morning commute on Halloween. Of those 116 responses, 77 of the accidents involved personal injuries. One of the accidents involved a critical injury to at least one of the victims.

Issues related to walk-in clinics

A previous post here discussed how a young woman died shortly after being misdiagnosed at a walk-in clinic near a college campus. A jury later determined that the student's family was entitled to $9 million due to the clinic's medical malpractice. The tragic story raises questions about walk-in care clinics in general. On the one hand, they are great when a person needs a doctor, but a primary care physician is not available, such as when the need arises after hours or on a weekend. Moreover, these clinics also can treat many of the same medical issues that emergency rooms treat, but at a fraction of the cost.

However, if there is a downside to these clinics, it is that they do not always have the same equipment, or are not subject to the same regulations and oversight, as are traditional emergency rooms. Moreover, walk-in clinics usually are staffed by primary care physicians, or even by nurse practitioners or a physician's assistant, as opposed to doctors and nurses who specialize in treating emergencies. These differences have led at least one major organization of physicians to strongly encourage urgent care clinics to not in any respect refer to themselves as emergency treatment centers.

Verdict illustrates importance of student medical care

The family of a young woman from another state was recently awarded $9 million after the woman's death, according to reports. At the time of her death, the woman was attending college. She went to the urgent care clinic complaining of shortness of breath and pain in her chest. However, because her symptoms seemed relatively mild, the doctor treating her sent her home with an antibiotic. The doctor did tell her to come back if the condition got worse.

The woman returned after her symptoms indeed did worsen. The trouble started on this trip to clinic, as a doctor who was new to the clinic saw her. Strangely, this doctor did not have access to information about the woman's previous visit.

Did medical workers fail to provide safe and quality care?

How many times have you been to see a doctor in the last five years? Chances are you have sought medical examination or treatment on multiple occasions. Each time, you logically expect that your doctor will be able to diagnose your condition or recommend a specialist who can if she or she is unable to do so. 

In any case, you have a right to reasonably expect that any and all medical workers who care for you act according to accepted safety standards and quality protocol. There is a slight difference between safety and quality. The former refers to hazards and potential injury, the latter pertains to effective and efficient service. You deserve both. Not only that, but you might wind up in worse condition than you were to start if a medical worker's negligence causes you illness or injury.

Whiplash can have a long-term impact

Victims of rear-end auto accidents frequently experience "whiplash," although the condition can develop because of other traumatic injuries. Whiplash is an injury to the neck that happens because the neck gets lashed rapidly back and forth, much like the cracking of a whip, as a result of a sudden and forceful blow.

Fortunately, even though many people will suffer headaches, pain and stiffness, the symptoms may only last for a few weeks after their accident. Still, treating even a minor case of whiplash will likely require some medication and therapeutic exercises. Sadly, in a handful of cases, a victim will suffer long-term effects of whiplash. Some may even experience symptoms similar to what one would expect following a traumatic brain injury. In fact, sometimes the back-and-forth motion associated with whiplash also causes a traumatic brain injury, a broken bone in the neck or other serious damage.

Aspiration is often a preventable occurrence

The term "aspiration" refers to the act of a person accidentally swallowing reflux, saliva or the like. Normally, this is not a major ordeal and is rather common. Take, for example, a person who simply takes a swallow of water and it goes down "the wrong pipe." However, when a person is sick, elderly or in bad health, aspiration can have deadly results. For example, a person receiving food through a tube may be at risk for aspirating, as can anyone who is lying in bed for a prolonged period of time.

Usually, patients who are aspirating will slowly accumulate fluid in their lungs as small amounts from time to time head down the windpipe. Eventually, this will lead to pneumonia, which is a potentially life-threatening condition since the lungs can no longer process oxygen properly.

Woman dies in failure to yield accident

A woman from southwestern Missouri died recently in an accident at an intersection, according to reports. Police investigating the accident said that the woman, who was a passenger in one of the vehicles involved, flew out of her vehicle following the accident. While the condition of the driver of her vehicle was not listed, police did note that he was not wearing a seatbelt. Rescuers took the woman to a hospital in a nearby urban area, but the woman died about 90 minutes after the accident.

Police said that a 23-year-old struck the vehicle the victims were traveling in. Police stated that the younger driver failed to yield and that failure caused the accident.

Payouts for Missouri medical malpractice claims over $52 million

According to a recent report which analyzed figures from 2018, insurance companies in Missouri paid losses on 179 medical malpractice claims for a total of almost $52.5 million dollars. This was actually a 4% drop in loss payments when compared to 2017. By contrast, Kansas had 144 payouts. However, the total paid was $25.74 million, which marked a 3% increase.

Across the country carriers paid just over $4 billion in medical malpractice claims. The vast majority, over 95% of these payouts, came following a pre-trial settlement of the claim. Nationwide statistics revealed some other interesting facts about the state of medical malpractice claims in this country as well. Almost one out three of all payouts, 30%, came in the wake of a patient's untimely death. Additionally, almost 19% of payouts ended after a patient suffered a major and permanent injury due to alleged malpractice, and about 18.5% of payouts followed a significant injury.

What is the National Practitioner Data Bank?

Unlike other professions, the medical profession has a nationwide database recording various misdeeds of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. The National Practitioner Data Bank is maintained by the United States Department of Health & Human Services. Basically, licensing boards, health insurance plans and malpractice carriers, as well as hospitals, can submit reports on doctors and other professionals.

Common examples of what sorts of events get reported would include when a hospital must suspend a doctor's privileges to practice in the hospital or when a medical malpractice insurance company must pay a claim. Licensing boards also may report when they are in the process of disciplining a doctor or have imposed a sanction.

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