The Law Offices of John Phebus

Phoenix Criminal Law and Personal Injury Blog

How some medication errors happen

Arizona patients who are prescribed medications that have a larger dose available in a multiple of 10 might be in more danger of being given the wrong dosage than people whose medications do not come in factors of 10. According to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, there have been a number of reports of medication errors of this nature.

One of several cases in which a 20 mg dose of Abilify was given instead of a 2 mg dose involved a child who took 68 wrong doses. The child became withdrawn and cried often among other side effects. A computer error resulted in a patient being given 100 mg doxeprin doses instead of 10 mg for a month. That patient suffered from fatigue as a result. The pain management drug Belbuca was given to a patient in doses of 750 mcg instead of the 75 mcg prescribed by the doctor. After five doses, the woman suffered vomiting, lightheadedness and dizziness among other symptoms.

Safety program succeeds at limiting anesthesia errors

Medication mistakes can have dire consequences for patients and result in medical malpractice judgments against physicians and hospitals. However, a clinical program designed to reduce the risk of medication and anesthesia errors may mean good news for both medical administrators and hospitalized patients in Arizona. A study presented at the Postgraduate Assembly on Anesthesiology used a retrospective look at medication errors before and after the implementation of the program for perioperative systems improvement.

The period of examination stretched 8.5 years, from 2008 to 2016. Researchers found 105 instances of medication errors and noted a downward trend in errors occurring after the hospital started the safety program. The most common categories for this type of doctor error were dosage mistakes and incorrect medication.

Medical errors can often be fatal

Medical errors are a leading cause of death in Arizona and across the U.S., according to a study. Further, the authors of the study say that they are on a mission to inform Americans about the depth of the problem.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that more than 250,000 people died from preventable medical errors in 2013, which would have made it one of the three leading causes of fatalities in that year. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially listed respiratory disease as the third leading killer of Americans in 2013, with 149,205 deaths. The researchers say that the CDC's failure to account for medical error deaths means that fewer research dollars are allocated to preventing the problem.

Marijuana DUI rates rise while drunk driving declines

A new study indicates that there may be an increase of drivers influenced by marijuana on the Arizona roadways. While marijuana-impaired driving is on the rise, alcohol-impaired driving is on the decline, according to the 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol & Drug Use by Drivers.

AAA's senior research scientist from its Foundation for Traffic Safety says that marijuana and alcohol impair drivers in different ways; however, both are dangerous. Legally, intoxication by any substance that impairs the ability to drive safely is prohibited for drivers in all 50 states.

Surgery for early-stage prostate cancer could be unnecessary

Many men in Arizona have to deal with the affects of prostate cancer every year. According to the American Cancer Society, it is the second-most common type of cancer diagnosed in men. For those people contemplating treatment, a study that tracked men with early-stage prostate cancer has yielded informative results. The researchers concluded that surgical treatment produced negligible benefits compared to patients who only watched the disease for problems.

Starting in the mid-1990s, physicians typically treated the cancer with surgery and radiation. The development of the prostate-specific antigen blood test increased the number of early-stage diagnoses, and physicians reasoned that removing or irradiating a tumor before it spread would prolong life. The results of the Prostate Cancer Intervention Versus Observation Trial, however, showed that the men who only observed the disease had statistically similar outcomes to the men who received treatment, which sometimes caused side effects such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

Alzheimer's diagnosis is often wrong

Arizona doctors who are examining patients who present with symptoms of dementia could experience difficulty with making a definitive diagnosis. Patients with delusions and hallucinations complicate matters because those symptoms strongly suggest the presence of Parkinson's disease and other forms of dementia, but psychosis could also be part of Alzheimer's disease.

The director of a memory disorders clinic in Toronto said that physicians might not realize the extent to which psychosis occurs in Alzheimer's patients. Perhaps as many as 36 percent of people with Alzheimer's experience delusions and nearly 20 percent have hallucinations.

Former Knicks coach facing DUI charges

DUI charges can impact people in Arizona regardless of fame or status. These charges can hit hard, even when there were no injuries. Former New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher had a one-car crash in early June in California. His car collided with a guardrail and flipped upside down. Fisher, who also played with the Los Angeles Lakers, was driving with a passenger at the time, but neither were injured. The flipped car blocked two lanes of traffic on U.S. Route 101 in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles.

At the time of the accident, Fisher was arrested by police under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. He is now to be formally charged with two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence. The two charges he is facing specifically are operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. The charges appear to be the first of these types for Fisher.

Ovarian cysts can pose misdiagnosis risk

Many women in Arizona suffer from ovarian cysts and other health concerns related to the female reproductive system. The ovaries are small, walnut-sized organs that are part of the female reproductive system. They store and release eggs (ova) during ovulation; this monthly egg release begins the monthly menstrual cycle.

Each ovum is enclosed inside a follicle, a type of sac, until a hormonal signal causes it to be released into the uterus. If the egg is not fertilized, resulting in pregnancy, it is expelled with the uterine lining in the following menstrual cycle.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever symptoms

Although 60 percent of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever cases occur in other areas of the country, Arizona residents who spend large amounts of time outdoors are at risk of suffering the disease. If this disease, which is caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsia, is not treated quickly, it can be potentially fatal.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is a tick-borne illness that has been increasing in numbers over the last few years. A person can contract the illness if they are bitten by a Brown Dog tick, an American Dog tick or a Rocky Mountain Wood tick. The main problem with the particular disease is that it has a lack of specific symptoms. For example, the initial symptoms can include fever and headache, which could lead a person to assume it is a common illness. However, other symptoms generally follow over the next few days and can include vomiting, muscle pain, conjunctival infection and spotted rashes.

Being misdiagnosed with Lyme disease

Arizona residents who were diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease should be aware that misdiagnoses of this condition are increasing. Some people who have been diagnosed with this disease may not actually have it, so their health is being compromised when doctors prescribe them expensive and often dangerous treatments.

Typically, chronic Lyme disease symptoms include a skin rash with a characteristic bull's eye shape, fatigue, headaches and fever. However, some health care providers erroneously diagnose patients with chronic Lyme disease when generalized pain and neurological issues are present. Chronic Lyme disease can be a confusing term since different practitioners may use it to indicate varying conditions. For example, some doctors it as a catchall term even if there is no evidence that the patient has been infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, the actual cause of Lyme disease.

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