Millions of Americans suffer back and neck pain and billions of dollars are spent every year on treatment. When spinal pain becomes serious or disabling, doctors often prescribe a corticosteroid injection near the spine (an epidural). In 2011 alone, almost 9 million epidural steroid shots were administered. But the effect was not always an improvement.
Judges of the Georgia Supreme Court are currently considering the question of whether a child with severe cerebral palsy should have been allowed in the courtroom in her own case, and whether the judge in the original trial was wrong to exclude her.
Information about the efficacy of new drugs and medical devices is shared by medical doctors through professional journals, of which there are many. These journals carry articles that report the results of research studies. What many of the articles fail to report, however, is how much the doctors who conducted the studies were paid by the drug company or device manufacturer. And yet that information can be critical assessing the credibility of the research.
In our last post, we reported on how one hospital took correct action when it discovered that a nurse anesthetist had made a medication mistake. Sadly, that's not typically what happens according a study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which estimated that more than 130,000 Medicare beneficiaries suffer one or more medical "adverse events" because of hospital errors every month.
People make mistakes - even medical providers. How they handle those mistakes, and the lessons they learn from them to prevent future medication errors, is one way to judge professionalism. A recent story in the journal Outpatient Surgery provided an example of things done right, after the administration of medication went wrong.
While cosmetic surgery is generally safe, a recent and lengthy article in USA Today highlighted some of the unique dangers to this type of surgery, particularly when it occurs in a doctor's office of clinic rather than a hospital setting. Patients featured in the article suffered from surgical errors, life-threatening infections, drug overdoses, scarring and disfigurement and even death.
Quality problems at a Lincoln, Nebraska, pharmaceuticals manufacturing plant has led to the recall of a number of over-the-counter medications sold by Novartis Consumer Health. While the company says no injuries have been reported at this time, the recall was issued in an attempt to minimize harm from a medication error. The medications affected by the recall are:
In November we wrote about a new rule imposed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The rule restricts researchers and journalists from taking information from the National Practitioner Data Bank and combining it with other information to identify medical providers with a history of violations, disciplinary actions and medical malpractice payments.
Many people think that cosmetic surgery is somehow less "serious" than other types of surgery, but the truth is, any medical procedure carries risks. Sadly, a California woman recently died from a fatal medication error during liposuction.