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Elizabeth Cohen, CNN’s senior medical correspondent, has posted Medical Mistakes: Patient’s Stores: 10 Shocking Medical Mistakes.

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In a well-written piece, citing real examples of patient victims, Cohen outlines 10 common medical mistakes that represent easily prevented, easily corrected medical malpractice. These mistakes are estimated to cause more than 250,000 deaths per year in the U.S., and injuries to millions more.

1. Treating the wrong patient–failing to identify the patient;

2. Surgical “souvenirs”–surgical instruments and sponges left in patients;

3. Lost patients–dementia patients being lost or wandering off;

4. Fake doctors–people posing as doctors or doctors who have had their licenses revoked continuing to practice;

5. ER waiting game–failure to properly triage patients;

6. Air bubbles in blood–a deadly and preventable complication of chest tubes and IV lines;

7. Operating on the wrong patient–failing to identify the correct patient and the correct procedure;

8. Infection infestation–bad hygiene by doctors and nurses;

9. Lookalike tubes–medication vials that look deceptively similar with terrible consequences;

10. Waking up during surgery–insufficient anesthesia, causing injuries when patients awake

These 10 mistakes seem so obvious, that many people think they simply can’t occur that often. But they do, with alarming frequency.

If you or a loved one were injured or killed as a result of medical negligence, please call for a consult. STLMedicalMalpractice.com

A federal judge in Charleston, West Virginia has set the first Bard vaginal mesh case for trial next February, reports Bloomberg News.

The U.S. FDA issued a report last year finding that vaginal mesh products should be classified as posing a high risk to patients based on its review of side-effect reports. The mesh products are inserted vaginally and used to stop pelvic organs from bulging, called prolapse. They are also used in treating incontinence.

If you think you have been injured by a vaginal mesh product, whether manufactured by Bard, Johnson & Johnson or others, please contact our office to discuss a possible claim.

At least one person has died and dozens were injured when a beer garden tent collapsed in a storm Saturday afternoon, reports the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

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A line of strong storms passed through St. Louis just before 4pm. Kilroy’s bar, south of Busch Stadium at 720 South Seventh Avenue had set up the tent as a beer garden. Reports indicate that the tent was permitted and inspected, but the investigation continues.

If you or a loved one was injured in this incident, please call or contact us at hendricksonlaw.com to discuss possible claims.

“American hospitals are capable of great medical feats, but they are also plagued by daily errors that cost lives.” So begins a recent article by the AARP, titled Hospitals May Be the Worst Place to Stay When You’re Sick.

The AARP reports several statistics that may be shocking to those who don’t deal with these issues, day in and day out. For example:

? Each year as many as 100,000 American die in hospitals from preventable medical mistakes

? A report on Medicare patients released in January found that hospital staffs don’t report 86% of harms done to patients

? An HHS study found that 1 in 7 patients suffered serious or long term injuries, or died as a result of hospital care

? 44% of the problems are preventable

? The patients who die each year from preventable hospital errors equal four full jumbo jets crashing each week

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If you suspect that you or a loved one are the victim of this type of medical negligence, please call me to discuss. 314-721-8833 or 800-557-8176 or view my website STLMedicalMalpractice.com.

The St. Louis Post Dispatch has reported that Mercy Hospital (formerly St. John’s Mercy Medical Center) has settled a Justice Department investigation by agreeing to pay $365,000.

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The settlement resolves allegations that Mercy overcharged Medicare between 2000 and 2008 for performing kyphoplasty, a minimally-invasive procure to treat certain spinal fractures. The allegation was that the hospital’s unnecessarily extended the patient’s stays in order to increase the recovery from Medicare. The DOJ brought the charges under the False Claims Act.

Mercy was 1 of 14 hospitals around the nation that settled with DOJ over the practice.

Since Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of HHS Kathleen Sebelius created an initiative to jointly pursue investigations to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid Fraud in May 2009, the U.S. Government has recovered $6.6 billion in cases involving Medicare and Medicaid Fraud, mostly from hospitals and large medical care providers.

You may not realize it, but our active duty military have virtually no recourse if they are the victim of medical malpractice by a U.S. military physician or health care provider. This is called the Feres Doctrine and has been the law since a 1950 U.S. Supreme Court case, Feres v. United States.

Well, now the U.S. is trying to expand the Feres Doctrine to include the spouses and family members of U.S. Military. That’s right, they are trying to get the Court’s to agree that, basically, U.S. Military physicians cannot be held responsible for any malpractice. You can read a detailed report in The Atlantic.

I’m sorry, this is just wrong. I’ve always thought the Feres Doctrine was wrong, but at least the argument existed that, as a member of the military, you were giving up certain rights in exchange for certain benefits. The families of U.S. Military don’t make those decisions. And to treat the military members, let alone their families, as if they are undeserving of the best medical care and a means to hold someone accountable if they don’t get it, its just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Bloomberg and other sources are reporting that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay the U.S. $1 billion to settle the U.S. Attorney’s marketing probe. Read the full report here. Criminal please still may come in this case.

Risperdal was once J&J’s biggest selling drug. It was an anti-psychotic drug approved for use in psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. J&J began marketing it for off-label uses, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, mood and anxiety disorders and other unapproved uses.

If your lovely Aunt Shelby give you a ShoulderFlex massager for Christmas … well, you don’t even want to re-gift this thing. And whatever you do, don’t use it!

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The ShoulderFlex massager by now bankrupt King International was recalled in August. NPR reports that the FDA recalled the device because clothing, hair and jewelry can get tangled in the device’s rotating parts. There were reports of one person being strangled by the massager and at least one other near-death by strangulation.

Before the recall process could be completed, King International went into bankruptcy. The toll-free recall number has been disconnected. Many consumers who purchased the product may not have been advised of the recall.

If you own one, take it back to the store where you purchased it. After all, you don’t want to end up on one of those “news of the weird” shows.

Happy Holidays!

The New York Times is reporting on a phenomenon they are calling distracted doctoring: concentrating on a computer or smartphone rather than the patient. And the risks to patients are tremendous.

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The article notes instances such as doctors making personal phone calls during operations, technicians monitoring bypass procedures texting and operating room nurses checking their phones for air fares. Obviously, if they aren’t concentrating on the patient, the patient is at risk. One physician quoted in the story refers to the smartphone or tablet computer as “iPatient.” The iPatient is getting all the attention instead of the real patient.

Smartphones and tablet computers are wonderful technology devices that give doctors and nurses access to a patient’s extensive medical records and virtually unlimited reference materials. However, the fact that the same devices can be used to surf the web, text and access Facebook, puts an area of distraction readily available, when the health care giver should be concentrating on the patient.

Like electronic medical records, smart devices are tools. Unfortunately, they can, and will, be abused.

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The New York Times is reporting, what we already know–the number of complaints about metal-on-metal hip implants is surging. And there is no end in sight.

“All-metal replacement hips are on a trajectory to become the biggest and most costly medical implant problem since Medtronic recalled a widely used heart device” in 2007. At the present time, the major problems appear to exist be with the Zimmer Durom and DePuy (Johnson & Johnson) ASR metal-on-metal hip implants. But complaints are surfacing with many brands.

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Patients are experiencing reactions, believed to be linked to the shedding of metal debris. Unlike traditional hip implants that use a ceramic or metal ball and a poly-vinyl pelvic cup liner, the metal-on-metal components have metal balls and metal cups. Reactions to the metal debris mimmick severe infections and can attack and destroy bone and soft tissue. In the simplest cases, the metalosis causes the components to loosen and after surgical revision, the patients are recovering normal function after revision. However, in some cases, the metalosis has destroyed so much muscle bone and ligament, that normal revision is not possible. These patients can suffer debilitating pain and loss of function.

If you or a loved one has had a metal-on-metal hip implant, you should immediately consult with an attorney. Please contact Todd N. Hendrickson at stlmedicalmalpractice.com.

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