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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Misdiagnosis can cause serious harm – and even death

There are many ways in which a doctor can make a mistake. If in making that error the doctor failed to live up to the medical standard of care, and consequently caused harm to the patient, it may result in a medical malpractice claim.

Some mistakes happen more often than others, however, and a recent study offers some compelling insight. That’s because the research identifies the type of medical error that most often causes serious harm to a patient.

Tips to prevent a serious motorcycle accident

There is not another experience quite like riding a motorcycle. Riding on the open road with the wind at your back elicits a feeling that you simply cannot replicate doing anything else. That said, riding a bike is also an extremely dangerous activity. One false move could result in injury or possibly even death.

Every motorcycle accident has the potential to have severe consequences. In fact, more than 80% of all reported motorcycle crashes result in an injury or death to the motorcyclist. Naturally, this incredibly high rate makes motorcycle safety very important. Taking the proper precautions and practicing safe riding habits can literally be the difference between an exciting ride and one that ends in the hospital.

Watch out for deer this fall

Iowa is one of the best places in the country for wildlife habitat. This includes woodland animals like deer. While deer can be cute, they pose a significant safety risk to drivers and their vehicles.

Only three states saw more deer-related accidents in 2017 than Iowa. From Summer 2017 to Summer 2018, 1-in-73 Iowan drivers hit a deer. Now that we’re approaching fall, it’s an important remind that you’re twice as likely to hit a deer in this season than any other.

Three simple ways to help a loved one cope with a brain injury

Because the brain is such a complex organ, every traumatic brain injury (TBI) is unique. The long-term effects of a TBI can vary based on the part of the brain that was injured, the severity of the injury, the type of injury, how quickly medical treatment was administered and other factors.

With so many different factors to consider, it may be difficult to predict how a loved one’s injury might affect him or her. It may also be difficult to predict what kind of help he or she may need or want. However, there are a few simple ways to help that can apply to almost any situation.

Dangers of drunk driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accidents caused by drunk driving kill more than 10,000 people in the United States every year. Iowa residents might like to know more about the problems caused by drunk driving.

Intoxicated drivers contributed to around one-third of all fatal car accidents. The data from 2017 shows that men are involved in more fatal crashes than women when driving drunk. 14 percent of women were intoxicated in these crashes while 21 percent of men were intoxicated.

Drowsy driving, a growing epidemic

Many Iowa residents fail to sleep the minimum of seven hours that the CDC recommends for each night. As a result, more and more people are driving drowsy. A 2018 AAA study observed camera footage of drivers just before they were involved in collisions, and researchers concluded that 9.5% of all accidents are caused by drowsy drivers.

Drivers need to know that the effects of sleep deprivation are comparable to those of alcohol intoxication. The National Sleep Foundation says that going without sleep for 24 consecutive hours will lead to impairment similar to that of having a BAC of .10. That's over the legal limit of .08.

New sepsis guidelines may not be helpful

According to the Surviving Sepsis Campaign, treatment should begin within an hour after symptoms of the condition are spotted. The 60-minute window begins after an individual arrives in triage. These guidelines were implemented in 2018, and they were designed to help identify and treat sepsis in emergency rooms faster. In the past, treatment could be given over a period of three or six hours. However, evidence suggests that such a condensed timeline could result in people being diagnosed with sepsis who don't actually have it.

This is partially because the limited time to treat a patient could cause stress among those tasked with helping them. If a person doesn't have sepsis, he or she could be harmed by the antibiotics used to combat it. While there are cases in which patients could be misdiagnosed, others argue that sepsis needs to be identified and treated quickly. Patients who were accurately diagnosed and treated for sepsis in a timely manner generally had positive outcomes.

Reasons for medical malpractice

One of the top causes of medical malpractice lawsuits in Iowa and the rest of the country is misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. For malpractice claims pertaining to outpatients, it is the number one reason. Patients file suits against the physicians who fail to diagnose them properly because of the missed treatments that resulted from the misdiagnosis and that contributed to a worsened medical condition or death. A misdiagnosis of a condition could also result in unnecessary treatment that can be harmful to the patient. In order for patients to win a medical malpractice suit that alleges misdiagnosis, they have to be able to prove that the physician failed to adhere to a proper standard of care.

Another common cause of medical malpractice suits is a complication during childbirth. Along with general surgeons, OB/GYNs are the physicians who are most frequently sued. There are many ways injuries can be incurred on a fetus throughout the pregnancy phases or during childbirth. Some of the injuries can be so severe that they can result in seizure disorders, paralysis or cerebral palsy. There are also injuries that result from natural causes.

VA pays $950,000 after Iowa surgeon operates in South Carolina

Early this year, the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to settle a medical lawsuit involving a Des Moines surgeon with an Iowa medical license.

According to the suit, the surgeon was operating in the veterans’ hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, when his work caused injuries to a Navy veteran.

Ways to stay safe while riding a motorcycle

The open road. The feeling of wandering. The freedom you feel when you get up and ride as the wind blows through your hair. These feelings while riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating but doing so is also hazardous. You’ll want to follow these four ideas to stay safe while cruising down that highway or country road.

First, keep your loved one’s top of mind and have a planned destination. Even if you’re an expert, riding a motorcycle isn’t very safest hobby. It’s fine to drift from time to time but set a destination in your head to stay alert of your surroundings.

Hixson & Brown, P.C.
160 South 68th Street
Suite 1108
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Toll Free: 800-229-9854
Phone: 515-650-4531
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