Kansas City Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding FDA warnings of serious medication errors

Medical professionals are heavily relied on when residents in Missouri fall ill or are injured. Once diagnosed, patients are often treated with medicine at a hospital, clinic or at home via a prescription. While medication could help treat a patient or help them with the recovery of an injury or surgical procedure, errors could occur. A pharmaceutical error could result in great harm to a patient, causing them medical conditions, injuries and even death.

Because medication errors are serious and could have severe outcomes, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA makes communications and announcements concerning medication errors to both healthcare professionals and patients in order to reduce these types of errors. A current medication safety announcement by the FDA concerns the administration of medicine given to treat neurological complications from ruptured blood vessels in the brain.

Missouri Senate passes cap on medical malpractice damages

Patients rely on the expertise of medical professionals to diagnose and treat them for their ailments. If a physician fails to meet the accepted standard of care in their specialty and a patient is injured as a result, the patient has the right to seek compensation through a medical malpractice suit. If a bill that recently passed the Missouri Senate becomes law, the amount of that compensation may be limited.

The Senate voted this month to reinstate a damages cap that was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court three years ago. In a 28-2 vote, state senators passed a bill to limit the non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, in lawsuits for medical malpractice. Under the Senate bill this limit would be put at $400,000. For catastrophic injuries, the limit would be $700,000. For wrongful death cases, the existing cap would be raised from $350,00 to $700,000.

Elements to prove in a medical malpractice lawsuit

When a Kansas City resident decides that he will initiate litigation against another party, he must be aware of the elements that he is responsible for proving in his case. Every civil claim is different and, therefore, readers of this personal injury blog should consult with their own counsel, rather than relying on the information provided herein as a basis for their legal claims. This post is provided as a very basic overview of what a person might be asked to prove if he alleges that he is the victim of medical malpractice.

As with other claims that are based on negligence, a victim may first be asked to prove that the allegedly responsible party owed him, the victim, a duty of care. In the doctor-patient relationship, this duty can arise when a doctor agrees to treat a patient. Doctors are assessed by a legal standard that compares their actions to those that a reasonably prudent doctor would take, given the circumstances of the victim's case.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Prior posts here have addressed the serious problems associated with brain injuries. A brain injury can alter the course of a person's life by affecting balance, coordination, cognitive abilities and many other necessary bodily functions. Serious damage to a person's brain can render an otherwise healthy individual dependent on the kindness and care of others.

Due to the importance of recognizing and researching brain injuries, the Brain Injury Association of America has declared March "Brain Injury Awareness Month." Through this campaign it hopes to offer support to those Americans who have suffered brain injuries and to let them know that they are not alone in their battles.

Wrongful death case involves caramel apple death

Caramel apples are a delicious treat for many Missouri residents. But, the tasty sweetened fruit may be dangerous sometimes, just like the apple that poisoned Snow White in the fairy tale.

Some caramel apples were recalled several months ago after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that they were infected with Listeria. Seven people died after eating the apples.

Helping truck accident victims assert their legal rights

Like most drivers in the country, Missouri drivers probably find the prospect of being in a truck accident frightening. Considering the number of lives lost on the nation's streets and highways every year, they should. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,900 people died and 104,000 people were injured in traffic crashes involving large trucks in 2012.

The number of casualties produced by truck accidents is not surprising. Motorists in most vehicles are at a disadvantage in an accident because of the sheer size of a commercial truck, especially one that is fully loaded and traveling over or even at the posted speed limit. Sometimes, just a seemingly minor contact between a passenger vehicle and a truck can injure or kill those in a car, van or pickup truck. Truck drivers themselves pose risks because some fail to adhere to federal and state regulations regarding hours of service and rest periods. Fatigued drivers are about as dangerous as drunk drivers in failing to operate their vehicles safely.

The many complications of brain injuries

One of the worst possible injuries that a Missouri resident could sustain in an accident is a brain injury. A brain injury is an incident of insult to the brain that causes damage that is sometimes immediate and sometimes delayed or gradual. Each type of brain injury is unique, because the damage may affect different parts of the brain. For example, traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force causes brain trauma, while acquired brain injury may arise from a tumor or neurological illness. Nevertheless, any type of brain injury can dramatically change anybody's life.

These changes arise from the various complications that may gradually occur in a brain injury victim. Some issues will happen immediately or soon after the brain is damaged, while others won't appear until days, weeks or months later. This is one reason why some cases of brain injury go undetected until severe complications show up. For example, a person suffering from TBI may experience seizures within the first week, but with nerve damage, a person may suffer a gradual increase in loss of vision, loss of facial sensation, paralysis and swallowing problems.

Why are patients in intensive care units at risk of misdiagnosis?

In many Missouri hospitals the intensive care unit is a specialized department that provides critical care for patients with the most serious or life-threatening illnesses or injuries. ICU patients require constant monitoring and support from specialized equipment and targeted medications to stabilize their conditions. To meet patient needs, physicians and other healthcare workers have enhanced training in caring for vulnerable patients. Unfortunately, as a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins University researchers revealed, even with enhanced training ICU medical workers are more prone to misdiagnosing patients than are other hospital personnel.

How common are misdiagnoses in ICUs? According to the findings of the Johns Hopkin (from a study conducted in 2012) patient safety experts, approximately 40,500 ICU patients die each year directly or indirectly from misdiagnosed medical conditions. The researchers, whose results were reported in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety, 28 percent of patients suffered medical conditions that amounted to failures to diagnose by their doctors. That percentage equates to more than 1 in every 4 patients. Eight percent of those patients suffered serious diagnostic errors that might have contributed to their deaths. Fully 75 percent of those errors were missed infections and cardiovascular problems, such as strokes and heart attacks.

Missouri wrongful death claim for car crash names bar a defendant

When a fatal car accident happens in Missouri, the driver found at-fault for the crash can be considered the liable party. However, a drunk driver may be responsible for the actual crash, but the bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the drunk driver could also be held accountable for damages as well.

Take, for example, a car accident in Missouri that killed a 22-year-old woman. According to the report, a drunk driver drove the wrong way on a highway and collided with the victim's vehicle head-on. This deadly drunk driving car accident occurred a few months ago when the female victim was on her way home after work. The victim succumbed to the injuries she suffered from the incident. The accident investigation found that the alleged drunk driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent when the accident happened. Missouri's BAC legal limit is 0.08 percent. As a result, the 26-year-old drunk driver was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter for the deadly crash.

Spinal cord injuries present many challenges to patients

Many Americans, including some in Missouri, think that injuries to a person's spinal cord inevitably mean such severe loss of mobility that the person will be permanently disabled and can only look forward to a life of diminished quality. It is true that many people who suffer spinal cord injuries are permanently paralyzed and must change the way they live. Many others, however, are able to adapt to these challenges and live full and complete lives.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, approximately 12,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries each year. Most experience significant changes in their lives, including many secondary injuries caused by neural damage and restricted blood flow.

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