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West Des Moines Personal Injury Law Blog

Injuries that might cause delayed symptoms after a car accident

People in Iowa who are in car accidents might initially think they are not injured, but after several days, they may develop symptoms. Whiplash is one of the most common types of injuries that may only show symptoms after several days, and it commonly happens in accidents that occur at low speeds. Numbness in hands and arms may be one symptom. MRIs or other diagnostic tools may be used to confirm that a person has suffered whiplash.

Headaches several days after an accident might indicate serious conditions such as a concussion, a blood clot or another type of injury to the head or neck. The Back and Neck Pain Center reports that nearly 75 percent of side-impact crashes and over 50 percent of rear-impact collisions result in low back pain. This could happen because nerves, ligaments, muscles or the vertebrae are injured.

Who's at risk of having a baby with cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a brain injury or brain malformation that occurs while the brain is developing - before, during or after birth. Most soon-to-be parents do not expect their baby to be born with cerebral palsy -- a paralyzing condition that can result in a lifetime of disabilities for a baby. However, virtually any parent could have a baby with this condition and there are certain risk factors for which doctors will maintain a watchful eye.

When a doctor finds one of these risk factors in the mother, it's important to take swift action to limit the chances of the baby developing cerebral palsy. Although cerebral palsy cannot be prevented in all of these situations, medical science can do a lot when the early warning signs are found.

Can cooling a newborn reduce infant brain damage?

Giving birth to a baby who has suffered a severe brain injury is a bittersweet experience. On one hand, here is your beautiful child you've waited nine months to meet. You love him or her unconditionally. On the other hand, you're tearful and sad because you realize the hard road that lies ahead for your child.

Surgeon mistakenly removes woman's kidney

Patients in Iowa who consent to routine surgery do not expect to wake up to find out that one of their kidneys has been removed unnecessarily. That is exactly what happened to a Florida woman who was having an anterior spinal fusion operation.

The doctor who removed the kidney spotted what he thought was a malignant growth in the woman's pelvic region. After the organ's removal, a pathologist discovered it was a pelvic kidney. The organ was a functional kidney besides being in an unusual location inside the woman's body.

Study shows pediatric brain cancer often misdiagnosed

Pediatric brain cancer can be a terrifying diagnosis for anyone in Iowa. However, what could be even more disturbing is the likelihood of misdiagnosis for certain kinds of brain tumors in children. According to one study, kids with rare tumors have frequently received incorrect diagnoses. As a result, some patients may receive the wrong treatment and get ineffective medical action.

Researchers have found that some brain tumors look identical under a microscope but have far different molecular profiles. They urge doctors to use newer tests, called DNA methylation profiling, to avoid misdiagnoses when identifying brain cancer in pediatric patients. They also urge families to push for the use of these more accurate tests in diagnosing their children. The type of tumors involved in the study -- called CNS-PNETs -- are diagnosed based on where they are in the brain and the cell appearance under a microscope. However, the scientists discovered that their appearances can be deceptive.

Dog bites can pose infection risk

While many people in Iowa look forward to a fun day playing outside for themselves and their children, the fun can be disrupted in the case of an animal bite or attack. Dog bites aren't just painful. They can also spread dangerous germs that can lead to serious infections. In fact, a full 20 percent of people bitten by dogs need professional medical attention. While dogs are everywhere in the United States, and many households couldn't imagine themselves without their furry companions, some dogs can be dangerous to others. This is especially true when their owners fail to properly train or supervise the animals.

There are over 60 different types of bacteria that live in dog mouths; however, most of these do not transfer easily to humans. Still, almost 18 percent of dog bites can become infected as a result. Some kinds of infections are more common after an animal bite. Rabies is one of the best-known and most serious illnesses that can be caused by a dog bite. While it is rare, once symptoms appear, there is no treatment, and rabies is always fatal. Vaccination can be critical to preventing rabies from developing.

Computer hackers top list of health technology hazards

Patients who seek medical treatment in Iowa healthcare facilities trust health industry workers to provide skilled and competent service in a safe and sanitary environment. Today, the health industry relies on technology as an important tool to provide patient care. Though human error is still a problem, a new report puts computer hackers at the top of the list of health tech hazards that need to be addressed.

ECRI Institute named cybersecurity attacks the biggest problem in health technology in its top 10 ranking of health technology hazards for 2019. The ECRI Health Devices Group ranked 10 hazards in order of priority. The organization says that the risk of hackers infiltrating healthcare computer networks is the industry's most pressing issue. Its recommendation for combating the problem is to monitor and protect remote access points as well as adhere to normal cybersecurity practices like strong passwords and system logging.

Motor vehicle accident deaths rise for trucks, decline overall

Drivers in Iowa may be safer on rural roads than urban ones. This was one of the findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which released its most recent Fatality Analysis Reporting System Data on Oct. 3. Overall, fatalities from motor vehicle accidents were down by 2 percent after a rise in 2015 and 2016, and pedestrian fatalities were down for the first time in five years by 1.7 percent. However, there was a significant increase in fatalities involving trucks.

Deaths involving tractor-trailers went up nearly 6 percent while fatalities in large straight truck accidents increased almost 19 percent from the previous year. There was also a 3 percent rise in SUV deaths. The large straight truck category includes both commercial and non-commercial vehicles, such as dual-wheel pickups.

Boredom for truckers can lead to poor decision-making on the road

Driving for a long period of time can be a monotonous experience. Especially for those stuck driving on the highway, road hypnosis could pose a real risk. Staring at the same scenery and listening to the hum of traffic can make someone who might otherwise be awake and alert feel sleepy and groggy.

If you have ever experienced this, you likely know how stressful driving long distances can be. That might give you a little more empathy for the people who commercially drive big trucks for a living. These individuals often work incredibly long shifts with no company or external stimulation. They have to drive very demanding vehicles for long distances through all kinds of traffic and weather.

Precautions that may minimize medication errors at pharmacies

For most people in Iowa, getting a prescription filled at a local pharmacy is a fairly routine act. However, a study referenced in a leading pharmaceutical journal suggests that dispensing mistakes could be responsible for just over 20 percent of medication errors than may adversely affect patients. While stats like this may be understandably alarming for anyone who makes frequent visits to a pharmacy, both pharmacists and patients can be proactive when it comes to minimizing errors with medication preparation and disbursement.

There are existing systems in place designed to protect patients from the type of oversights that may lead to medical malpractice litigation. For instance, certain software checks for potential allergic reactions and interaction risks so that prescribing doctors can be contacted should there be any issues. Pharmacists also manually verify medications and store similar drugs on separate shelves to prevent mix-ups. A pharmacy database is used to visually compare medication before it's given to patients.

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