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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Judgment leads to $28.9 million in malpractice damages

Iowa residents may be wise to seek a second opinion when their doctors are unable to remedy their underlying health issues and claim that little more can be done. A Missouri woman who spent five months pleading with her physician to run additional tests was left incapacitated because the delay allowed an undetected and potentially deadly disease to worsen. The woman subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit, and a jury recently awarded her $28.9 million in damages after determining that the medical facility involved had acted negligently.

The woman originally reported symptoms that included severe fatigue, panic attacks and tremors. Doctors told the woman that she was suffering from anxiety and depression, but both she and her family believed that something else lay at the root of her persistent health problems. She claimed in her lawsuit that her doctors responded with ambivalence when she told them that her symptoms were getting more severe, and months passed before her condition worsened to the point where neurological tests were ordered.

Determining liability in a dog bite case

If an Iowa resident is bitten by an animal, the owner of that animal may be liable for any damages that a victim incurs. For instance, the animal's owner may have to pay a victim's medical bills or reimburse a victim for property damage. Punitive damages may also be a part of any settlement or jury award. As a general rule, an owner must take steps to keep a dangerous animal away from people.

This may include putting up warning signs on the property where the animal may be located. Erecting a fence may also reduce an animal owner's liability. If a minor owns an animal, that minor's parents may be held liable for anything it does even if the child technically owns it.

SGLT2 inhibitors may increase risks in some diabetes patients

Iowa residents who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes should be aware that a certain class of drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors could potentially increase the risk of ketoacidosis, a complication that could be life-threatening. These drugs include Glyxambi, Farxiga, Invokana and other brand names.

Ketoacidosis is a condition that can cause abdominal pain, vomiting and swelling of the brain. If a person suffering from ketoacidosis is not treated, death can occur. This condition most often occurs in those who have type 1 diabetes, though studies have shown that it can occur in those who have type 2 diabetes as well. Because it is most commonly seen in patients with type 1 diabetes, doctors are generally not on the lookout for ketoacidosis symptoms in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Do you know why commercial truck accidents occur?

A commercial truck accident can happen for a variety of reasons. As a motorist, you always do your part to remain as safe as possible at all times. Even with this approach, you don't have any control over decisions made by other drivers.

If you spend any time driving on the highway, you know there is no way to avoid commercial trucks. These vehicles are everywhere. While most truckers are responsible drivers, some don't realize the importance of following the rules of the road. Taking this one step further, some trucking companies make mistakes that can put others in a dangerous position.

The symptoms associated with a collapsed lung

When Iowa residents suffer a collapsed lung following an accident or a surgical error, they may experience a number of complications. If it is not treated or properly monitored, it can have an adverse impact on a person's quality of life.

When a lung collapses, air leaks into the space between the lung and the chest wall. As the air pressure builds up in this space, called the pleural space, the lung cannot fully open, causing it to collapse. Usually only a portion of the lung will collapse. Even so, a collapse could lead to respiratory failure, low blood oxygen levels, shock and finally cardiac arrest. In some cases, a collapsed lung can be life-threatening. Those who are suffering from a collapsed lung may have a tight feeling in their chest, a bluish skin tone, a rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure.

Iowa's strict seat belt laws are not protecting children

Iowa has some of the strictest child passenger safety laws in the country, but research from Harvard University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center suggests that law enforcement agencies in the state may not be doing enough to enforce these regulations. Researchers from the two universities found that only children in Nebraska are more likely to be killed in motor vehicle accidents than young passengers in the Hawkeye State.

The researchers came to this conclusion after studying 18,116 fatal accidents involving about 18,000 children under the age of 15 using data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The figures reveal that 16 percent of these children lost their lives, but that figure increases to a worryingly 27 percent in Iowa. The study was published online in May by the Journal of Pediatrics.

Facts about distracted driving in Iowa

On roadways in Des Moines and throughout the state of Iowa, distracted driving is becoming a growing concern. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, the amount of distracted driving-related vehicle accidents, both minor and major, increased from 518 in 2001 to 1,230 in 2016. The increase over this 15-year period has prompted Des Moines legislators to produce a more aggressive texting while driving law, which gives more authority to law enforcement to stop drivers who they suspect are texting or using an electronic device.

The amount of both minor and major injuries has also increased during the 15-year period from 357 injuries and one death in 2001 to 603 injuries and 13 deaths in 2016. With summer, holidays, vacations and graduations, there are typically more central Iowan residents driving, which may result in more distracted driving-related crashes, some of which could be fatal.

Getting a second medical opinion

Iowa patients who want to get another opinion about a diagnosis may want to consider obtaining a virtual second opinion. The telehealth and telemedicine industries have been providing means of communication between patients and providers who are not in the same room for years. However, the trend has expanded in recent years due to advances in virtual communication.

Virtual communication may be used for a variety of reasons. For example, patients can get secure messages from a physician or undergo an online refractory test to obtain a prescription from an optometrist. Virtual communication can also be used for getting a second diagnosis from a specialist or subspecialist who is in another city or on the other side of the country.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

Iowa residents suffering from melanoma may not know that May has been designated as Melanoma Awareness Month. During the month, experts hope to raise awareness about this dangerous form of skin cancer by promoting early detection and prevention of the disease.

According to data from the American Cancer Society, while melanoma accounts for just 1 percent of all skin cancers, it can be fatal. It comes from sunburns that produce blisters during childhood and in those who are consistently exposed to the sun without wearing some form of burn protection. Those who are at the greatest risk for developing melanoma are women in their 20s and 30s, but it also increases as a person ages. For young women, however, melanoma is the most common form of cancer. A dermatology professor noted that melanoma's cure rate is 94 to 100 percent when it is detected in its early stages. Left undetected, however, the cancer can grow and spread to the point that the survival rate drops to 20 percent.

Employers risk liability for workplace violence

When Iowa employers perform background checks during the hiring process, they should consider records of violent behavior as a potential liability. A lawsuit working its way through the court system against Home Depot Inc. illustrates how an employer's responsibility to prevent harm to employees could even extend beyond the workplace. The home supplies retailer had tried to get the lawsuit dropped because the supervisor who killed a pregnant subordinate employee did so outside of work.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, however, has allowed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim's family to continue because the retailer allegedly had knowledge of the supervisor's harassment of the employee. According to court documents, multiple store managers were aware that the supervisor had verbally abused and intimidated the victim. The supervisor had been told to attend to anger management classes.

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