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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Physician disclosure might be malpractice

A court on the East Coast has ruled on a case involving disclosure of patient information in a way that could impact how Iowa doctors and hospitals do business. At issue were the applicability of different statutes of limitations to statements made by the physician about the patient without the patient's consent and the propriety of a private cause of action under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The plaintiff filed a complaint in a New Jersey court after the defendant physician revealed to a third party that the plaintiff was HIV-positive. During an emergency consultation related to the plaintiff's kidney failure, the doctor, a certified nephrologist, discussed the plaintiff's condition. HIPAA does not support private rights of action, but a HIPAA violation may be enough to support a tort claim under common law.

Challenges for driving during the fall

Iowa motorists might like to know the particular dangers that the fall season brings while on the road. Shorter days and unpredictable weather are two challenges of fall driving. When heading to or from work, there may be more traffic and pedestrians since school is back in session. Drivers should watch for kids walking to and from school in neighborhoods and around school bus stops.

Dust and oil builds up on roads after a series of dry days, which makes the roads especially slippery when it does rain. Leaves may also make roads slippery and can hide hazards like potholes and obscure pavement markings. As the leaves change colors, drivers may also need to watch out for tourists enjoying the changing scenery. Cars with out-of-state plates that are driving slow might be inspecting the fall foliage. As these vehicles move slowly and make sudden stops or turns, other motorists should give these cars extra room.

Diagnosing a bone tumor in the foot

When an Iowa patient is diagnosed with a bone tumor in the foot, he or she may be aware that the majority of bone tumors are benign. However, while they are rare, malignant bone cancers can occur. Because malignant bone tumors can be aggressive, a timely diagnosis is needed.

In some cases, bone tumors can be completely painless. This can cause them to go undetected until another foot injury, such as a sprain, can cause the tumor to become painful. Patients who have been diagnosed with bone tumors often describe the pain from tumors to be a dull ache. Other symptoms, in addition to pain, can include cosmetic concerns, such as lumps or bumps on the foot, footwear problems and numbness. Paraesthesia, or the feeling of pins and needles, is also common.

Pre-crash warning systems are proving their worth

The past few years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of pre-collision warning systems installed on modern vehicles. Lane departure warning, blind spot warning and oncoming traffic detectors while backing are just some of the features installed on later model vehicles. Due to these and other devices, the streets of Iowa are becoming safer.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), one of the largest trade safety research organizations, recently conducted a study of vehicle collisions in 2015. The study found that in vehicles equipped with accident warning systems, sideswipe and head-on crashes were reduced by 11 percent. For accidents caused by lane departure and failing to see a vehicle in the driver's blind spot, accidents were reduced more than 20 percent. The IIHS studied 5,000 incidents occurring in 2015. IIHS researchers claim that up to 55,000 injuries could have been avoided that year if these features were installed in all vehicles.

Diagnosing nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

When it is suspected that an Iowa patient has cancer, there are a number of different tests that a doctor may conduct. However, the options depend on several factors, such as the type of cancer the person may have, the person's age and medical condition, the signs and symptoms and the results of other medical tests that have already been run.

For example, if it is suspected that a patient has nasal cavity or paranasal sinus cancer, the doctor may start with a physical examination. The doctor will feel for lumps on the face and neck. An inspection of the nose, mouth, tongue and throat will also be completed. One or more diagnostic tests may be ordered based on what the doctor sees or feels during the physical examination.

Research shows doctor fat shaming could impact health

Some Iowa patients who are overweight might have been subjected to fat shaming and disrespectful treatment at their doctor's office. This can be harmful to a patient both physically and mentally, and it can cause a patient to delay from seeking medical treatment in an effort to avoid having to talk to their medical professionals.

After reviewing 46 past studies and patients' reports of fat shaming, researchers found that fat shaming from doctors had a significant negative impact on the patients' health. Further, it also lead to a decrease in the trust between patients and their doctors. In some cases, researchers also found that doctors assumed that a patient's weight was responsible for causing whatever health condition the patient may have had, leading to a misdiagnosis of that health condition.

Drowsy driving prevention through electric shock

Many Iowa motorists have experienced terrifying moments caused by drowsy driving. Whether losing focus or even falling asleep momentarily, many find themselves in precarious situations due to their sleepiness. When this happens, there is the possibility of a crash, resulting in harm not just to themselves but to their passengers and to occupants of other vehicles involved in the collision.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that this causes approximately 6,000 fatal accidents annually around the country. While drowsy driving is not seen as negatively as driving while intoxicated, it can have similar catastrophic results. Some of the temporary solutions for drowsing driving include drinking lots of coffee or energy drinks and playing loud music in an attempt to keep awake. However, there is now an electronic device that the maker hopes will be a better fix for the drowsy driving problem by preventing car accidents.

Bicycle crashes often result in injuries or even death

More people than ever are hitting the roads in Iowa on bicycles. Whether you are riding a bicycle for your daily commute, for your morning workout or as a means to socialize with others during an organized group ride, there are risks inherent to biking. Understanding the potential risks and how to minimize them can keep you and your family safe during bike-related activities.

There are certain, common sense methods to reduce your risk. Most people understand that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of death while biking, as well as the risk of serious head injuries. You can also apply reflective stickers or lights to your bike, clothing and helmet. It's important to follow the rules of the road when it comes to biking. Signal your turns and stay aware of those in larger, motorized vehicles at all times.

Erroneous dosages can be dangerous

Patients in Iowa may have been exposed to higher or lower drug doses than were safe or necessary for their care. This is an issue that can occur when doctors write prescriptions. Accidentally prescribing or giving a patient a much higher dose can have severe consequences for the patient's health.

Drugs for depression that require a 2-mg dosage, when distributed at a 20-mg dosage, can cause the patient to have unusual symptoms. A 7-year-old who was prescribed a 2-mg dosage was given a 20-milligram dosage. This difference by a factor of 10 caused symptoms in the child such as recurrent crying episodes and becoming detached and mechanical. In another case, a pain-relieving drug was given to a patient at 750 mcg even though the doctor prescribed 75 mcg. This caused the patient to have vomiting, dizziness, nausea and a feeling of lightheadedness.

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