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Nursing Home Understaffing

January 2, 2020

Understaffing is the most common issue in nursing homes that can lead to abuse and neglect.  Overworked and under supervised staff pose a greater risk to patients. Inadequate attention and frustration lead to mistakes and neglect.

This is a serious issue that plagues over 90% of nursing homes.  Studies have proven that residents who live in understaffed nursing homes are at a greater risk of malnutrition, weight loss, bedsores, dehydration, infections, and pneumonia. Families of elderly patients are increasingly noticing this problem and are starting to hold nursing homes responsible for the abuses that occur as a result. (more…)

To resolve this issue there is a need for higher minimum nurse staffing standards for U.S. nursing homes based on multiple research studies showing a positive relationship between nursing home quality and staffing and the benefits of implementing higher minimum staffing standards. Studies have identified the minimum staffing levels necessary to provide care consistent with the federal regulations, but many U.S. facilities have dangerously low staffing. Secondly, the barriers to staffing reform are economic concerns about costs and a focus on financial incentives. The enforcement of existing staffing standards has been weak, and strong nursing home industry political opposition has limited efforts to establish higher standards. Researchers should study the ways to improve staffing standards and new payment, regulatory, and political strategies to improve nursing home staffing and quality. (more…)

 

Early Hospital Discharge

December 3, 2019

Medical Peer Review

Thirty days after release from the hospital can pose a risky time for many people. A study found that nearly 20% of patients experience adverse events within 3 weeks of discharge, nearly three-quarters of which could have been prevented.

Early discharge dangers include:

  • Adverse drug events are the most common post-discharge complication
  • hospital-acquired infections
  • procedural complications
  • hazards arising from the fact that nearly 40% of patients are discharged with test results pending
  • discharged with a plan to complete the diagnostic workup as an outpatient

In addition, there is increasing concern that the stressful hospital environment may lead to post-hospitalization syndrome— a patho-physiologic syndrome of weakness and increased stress that may leave patients vulnerable to clinical adverse events such as falls and infections. Nearly 20% of Medicare patients are re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge. (more…)

 

Breast Implant Complications May Lead to Harm

October 23, 2019

What is a breast implant?

A breast implant is an implanted device used to augment existing breast tissue for cosmetic purposes or to reconstruct the breast after surgery such as mastectomy. Litigation from alleged harm due to breast implants is not new, but recently a new form of lymphoma thought to be associated with implants added to concerns over the safety of these devices, which have also included implant rupture and contracture.

In 2018, silicone implant breast augmentation was the #1 performed plastic surgery for women in the United States, with 928,914 procedures performed. Implants range from round to oval to teardrop shape to best approximate the patient’s natural shape and may contain silicone or saline. Both silicone and saline implants have an outer shell made from silicone. Some implants have a smooth surface, others have a textured surface thought to stabilize the implant and decrease scar tissue formation.

 

Fig 1 Breast implants (image courtesy FDA; https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/implants-and-prosthetics/breast-implants, accessed 6/1/19)

 

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How to Ensure an Expert is not a “Hired Gun”

October 14, 2019

Credibility is critical to the success of an expert witness. You should be able to rely on your expert for honesty, and a case that is articulately and assertively presented.  There are many factors to consider when engaging an expert and to make sure that the opinion you receive is objective and will stand up to cross-examination.

Juries are required to sift through vast amounts of information.  The reliance on an expert witness to assist in understanding the facts is crucial and appearance of bias can negate an expert’s testimony with the jury.   Saponaro, Inc., employs several safeguards against unreliable and unethical expert witness testimony with the following guidelines:

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Recent Medical Malpractice Cases in the US

September 12, 2019

It can happen even if you are treated by the most skilled physician at best hospital the state has to offer. Leaving lasting scars, disabilities, a lifetime of pain or even death, medical malpractice can destroy a patient’s life. It is little wonder why tragic mistakes lead to serious lawsuits.

Here are recent medical malpractice cases that have resulted in large settlements: (more…)

 

Easy Steps to a Certificate or Affidavit of Merit

August 2, 2019

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The Choice of Experts for Certificate or Affidavit of Merit

The expert that will review your case for merit will be matched to the specific board-certification of the defendant, or will match the certification of the licensed healthcare professional in question. The expert will be actively practicing or actively working in an academic capacity, and will meet your State requirements in qualifying as an expert witness. The expert will be checked for any potential conflicts, since they have agreed to support their opinion through deposition and/or trial, if warranted.

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The Truth Behind These 4 Medical Malpractice Myths

June 28, 2019

medical malpractice myths debunked

Medical errors happen every day. They occur in alarming numbers and are extremely costly. Some areas of inpatient and outpatient healthcare are particularly unsafe, such as pediatrics, surgery centers, emergency rooms, hospice care, intensive care units (ICUs), lower-volume hospitals, nursing homes/rehabilitation facilities, and more.

The average person may think because medical errors happen so frequently, that medical malpractice lawsuits are abundant and that these cases are clogging up the courts. But these are just two in a long list of medical malpractice myths that need to be cleared up.

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Study Finds Misdiagnosis is Leading Cause of Pediatric Medical Malpractice

June 6, 2019

Leading cause of pediatric medical malpractice is misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis is more common than many people think, especially among pediatric patients. In a study that examined over 1,200 pediatric medical malpractice claims, the most common patient assessment issue was “failure to appreciate and reconcile relevant signs, symptoms and test results.”

The providers in the study failed to see the bigger clinical picture by looking at all available information (such as patient history, reported symptoms, a physical exam, and test results) to properly diagnose the patient.

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The Use of Thrombectomy in a Timely Diagnosis

May 15, 2019

The third most-common cardiovascular health threat is venous thromboembolism (VTE), or a blood clot in the leg that travels to the lungs. When diagnosed, it can be treated with surgical thrombectomy. But sometimes doctors don’t diagnose it in time to treat it with thrombectomy.

According to WorldThrombosisDay.org, “blood clots in the leg and lungs are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, many of which could be avoided with proper diagnosis and treatment.”

Most VTE fatalities happen from a failure to diagnose, rather than a failure to treat it. When diagnosed in a sufficient amount of time, surgical thrombectomy is an adequate treatment to prevent long-term injury and death.

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Preventable Hospital Errors Causing Deadly Consequences

May 6, 2019

Hospital errors happen every day.

When a person is admitted into the hospital, they put their lives in the hands of medical professionals. Each of us trusts that the doctors, nurses, medical assistants, radiology technicians, and any other medical staff have our best interests at heart. But these professionals make mistakes.

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