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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Peripheral artery disease and its top 3 signs

Peripheral artery disease is a condition affecting somewhere between 8 and 12 million people over 50 in the U.S. It is a circulatory disease where blood flow to the limbs is restricted by the build-up of a fatty substance called plaque in the arteries (the hardening and narrowing of the arteries is a separate condition and is known as atherosclerosis). Iowa residents should know that PAD can be known by three signs.

The first is intermittent claudication, or muscle cramping caused by insufficient blood flow to the foot, leg and hip muscles. It arises when patients are walking or exercising; even climbing a flight of stairs can trigger it since the muscles require more blood during these movements. Patients may continue to feel pain while resting. Yet only 15% of PAD patients feel these symptoms of intermittent claudication, according to Circulation Research.

10 risky situations to avoid when interacting with a dog

Dogs bite more than 4.5 million of people each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). About one out of every five of those people end up with wounds so serious that they require medical attention.

These statistics can seem intimidating. However, there are many ways you can improve your safety around dogs and minimize your risk of being bitten.

Surgical errors threaten patient health

When people in Iowa undergo surgery, they may face at least some risk of complications even when everything goes well during the procedure. However, in many cases, medical errors are to blame when people suffer injuries and negative health consequences after a surgical operation. Across the country, surgical errors are the second most common reason for medical malpractice claims, after misdiagnoses and other diagnostic errors. According to one study, one-quarter of all medical malpractice claims were linked to surgical mistakes, mostly during the procedure itself.

While over three-quarters of these malpractice claims were related to doctor errors during the surgery, other aspects of surgical treatment were also harmful to patients. In some cases, recovery care was insufficient or negligent; in other cases, the decision to order the surgical procedure was itself questionable. Certain types of surgical specialties were more likely to involve dangerous errors, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery. Of these claims, around 29% involved severe cases of permanent, significant damage or even the patient's death due to a surgical error.

Boarding causes ER overcrowding, raises risk for patient injury

Iowa residents may notice the next time they enter an emergency room that it's unusually crowded. Overcrowding in ERs has been an issue for more than a decade. The Institute of Medicine made a report on it back in 2007, saying that overcrowding raises the risk for patient injury through delays in treatment, the delayed administration of drugs and diagnostic errors. Patients may suffer from excessively long hospital stays as a result.

There are many factors that contribute to overcrowding, such as the declining number of hospitals in the U.S. since the 1970s and the growing habit people have of visiting the ER for primary care. One stand-out factor, though, is the practice of boarding: forcing patients with a scheduled treatment to wait in the ER, sometimes for hours, before a bed becomes available.

Medication errors put patient health at risk

When Iowa residents visit a doctor or a hospital due to an illness, they may expect to receive a correct diagnosis and proper treatment. When they go to the pharmacy to fill their prescription, they may expect to receive an appropriate drug to treat their condition. However, in too many cases, medication errors may interfere with people receiving the care they need. In some cases, these mistakes may even lead to more serious health conditions. There are several issues that patients can look out for in an attempt to protect their well-being.

Electronic medical records and computerized systems are meant to add precision to the health care system. In some cases, however, they are linked to medication errors. Doctors or pharmacists may enter only the first few letters of a drug before they are directed to select an option. It can be too easy to choose the wrong drug, and an incorrect prescription could lead to dangerous side effects. Patients may want to stay alert to ensure that the name on their prescription bottle matches the medication they are expecting.

Do red light cameras make the roads safer?

Traffic accidents caused by Iowa drivers running red lights can be deadly. In the United States, around 800 people each year are killed in collisions caused when one driver ran a red light, and many thousands more suffer severe injuries. Over half of the victims in these crashes are pedestrians, cyclists and people in other vehicles. As a result, many cities across the country have looked for solutions to make the roads safer. Red light cameras offer one means of cracking down on drivers running red lights while also increasing revenue for the city. The cameras are mounted atop traffic lights and capture the image of a car's license plate if it goes through a red light. Later, drivers receive a ticket in the mail.

Some red light camera systems have come in for criticism. Drivers say that the cameras don't make the roads safer and tend to catch people who just missed a yellow light rather than those responsible for serious car accidents. Critics also say that the cameras are a revenue-enhancing initiative rather than one that promotes safety.

Why would a doctor want to cool my baby after birth?

If your newborn received cooling therapy, it is likely because he or she was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This birth injury is a type of brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen and shortage of blood flow to the brain.

Cooling therapy, also called therapeutic hypothermia, is probably the most common treatment for HIE. When an infant undergoes this therapy shortly after experiencing a birth injury, the therapy can minimize the amount of permanent brain damage that occurs.

Drivers may not realize just how much space tractor-trailers need

You have probably driven next to a tractor-trailer hundreds of times. The first couple times you drove next to a tractor-trailer may have been nerve-racking. You may have only had your learner's permit at that time, but now you are a seasoned driver, and you may not give it a second thought when you encounter one of these large trucks on the road.

While there may not be a need for anxiety when sharing the road with tractor-trailers, there is a need for caution. Thousands of people are killed each year in collisions involving tractor-trailers, and most of those fatalities were the occupants of passenger vehicles.

What drivers should do after crashing a rental vehicle

People often love to vacation around the holidays. Here in Iowa, winters can be very frigid, limiting many people from their usual outdoor activities. That's why many of them like to pack their bags and fly south to catch some sun.

When people travel, they often want the same freedom and mobility they typically have at home, prompting some to use a rental vehicle. Unfortunately, vacationers can still face the risk of getting in a crash.

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