Blood pressure tests are common during a visit to a doctor. Iowa residents may be surprised to learn that their blood pressure test results are not always accurate, and these inaccuracies could present health challenges. Small things such as sitting on the bed at the doctor's office with one foot dangling off the side, engaging in conversation with the nurse or medical assistant performing the test, or having the blood pressure cuff on top the patient's sleeve could be enough to make a patient with high blood pressure appear that their blood pressure is normal, and vice versa.
At some point in everyone's life, they must put their trust into the hands of medical professionals. Living a healthy lifestyle is the best hope for longevity, but getting second opinions for serious conditions can also be important. However, Iowa residents should be aware that medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Within the category of medical negligence, diagnostic errors are the most common cause of malpractice claims.
Immunotherapy is a developing form of cancer treatment, so its effect on patients can be hit-or-miss. Though its side effects are mild compared to those of chemotherapy, they are hard to diagnose correctly when they arise. Some side effects can be serious, so Iowa residents who have undergone immunotherapy will want to know what they are and how to prevent their misdiagnosis.
People in Iowa who undergo gallbladder surgery may also sustain bile duct injuries during the procedure. According to some estimates, 1 percent of laparoscopic cholecystectomies, or gallbladder surgeries, result in trauma to the bile duct, which then causes a bile duct stricture ('blockage") or leak.
Some people in Iowa might have heard of flesh-eating bacteria, but they may not be aware that the symptoms indicating its presence could be confused with the flu. This happened to an Arizona woman who visited her doctor complaining of pain under her arm and flu-like symptoms. However, her husband says that within two days of the flu diagnosis, her pain was unbearable.
When Iowa patients are being treated by a doctor, they probably do not expect a harmful error to occur. However, in some cases, doctors and other medical professionals do make mistakes, and some of those may constitute medical malpractice.
Due to limited technology and the possibility of human error, biopsies for breast cancer are not always accurate. They are also known for being time consuming. This is a problem since the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations claims that cancer surgeons perform more than 1.7 million breast biopsies every year throughout Iowa and the rest of the U.S.
There are a number of mistakes that medical professionals in Iowa might make that could be harmful to patients. For example, there could be errors in dosing, prescribing or filling medications. Some patients may get infections from medical professionals who do not wash their hands as frequently as they should despite using latex gloves. Infections can also be contracted through ventilators or not taking out a urinary catheter early enough. Other types of errors involving equipment include mixing up a chest tube with a feeding tube, introducing air bubbles into the bloodstream via IV injections or syringe, and taking a breathing tube out too early after surgery.
Ophthalmologists and optometrists in Iowa have little trouble recognizing cataracts and glaucoma in patients, but other eye disorders present them with diagnostic challenges. A study of acute optic neuritis by university researchers found that eye care professionals over diagnosed people with the condition at high rates.
People in Iowa and across the United States are still waiting for HIV diagnoses that are often delayed, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Studies show that HIV detection rates are improving, but many people live with HIV for some time before receiving a diagnosis. This is often true even for people who have seen a doctor.