Law Office of JoJene E. Mills, P.C.
520.529.3200 Toll Free 866.529.3201

Tucson Medical Malpractice Law Blog

What is healthcare-associated Legionnaires’ disease?

You may already know that you can contract a secondary infection if you go to the hospital. There are many germs in healthcare settings that may find their way to you, despite your medical team’s efforts to disinfect your surroundings and protect you. Some hospital-related illnesses, such as staphylococcus bacteria infections, can be serious. You and other Arizona residents may also want to learn about Legionnaires’ disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia that can cause serious complications for health-compromised patients, such as those with chronic lung disease or compromised immune systems, cancer patients, current or former smokers or the elderly. Caused by the Legionella bacteria, it becomes dangerous when the bacterium infests a building’s water system. You and other patients would typically be exposed to Legionnaires’ disease by inhaling tiny water droplets in the air. The illness can be fatal for those whose health is already compromised.

What are bedsores?

When you undergo a procedure at an Arizona hospital, you may worry more about the surgery than the care you will receive afterward. If you do not receive proper care, though, you may sustain bedsores after your surgery.

You may think bedsores are simply bruises. According to the Mayo Clinic, these sores are ulcers and have many stages of severity. Mild bedsores may only injure the top layers of your skin, while severe ones may affect your bones and muscles. You may develop bedsores if you are immobile for long periods and do not get enough fluids and proper nutrition. This is because too much pressure on your skin can cause blood to stop circulating, forming these ulcers. When you are in the hospital recovering from a procedure, it is important for the hospital staff to help you reposition yourself often and elevate the head of the bed.  This can help prevent these injuries.

Can mild brain injuries affect your ability to work?

Arizona workers just like you depend on a steady income in order to support yourself. This is just one reason why incidents resulting in brain injury can be so traumatic. Many people know that severe brain injury can interrupt your ability to work and thus your income, but what about so-called "mild" brain injuries?

As Brainline states, mild brain injuries are a bit of a misnomer. In reality, the "mild" part is usually referring to the duration of the injury rather than the intensity. Mild brain injuries can be just as painful, debilitating, and disorienting. Brain injuries of all sorts can interrupt your life and ability to maintain a steady income. You can suffer from potentially disastrous side-effects, such as:

  • Confusion and forgetfulness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Fuzziness and an inability to concentrate

Symptoms of traumatic brain injury

Arizona residents who are involved in sudden accidents or crashes may end up with head and brain trauma. Unfortunately, this can lead to brain injuries. Depending on the severity of the incident, the injuries can also range in impact and intensity.

Mayo Clinic examines some of the symptoms for mild brain injury, which generally stems from less severe damage that is easier for the victim to recover from. This can include things like being dizzy or disoriented, rather than losing consciousness. If unconsciousness does occur, it usually lasts seconds to a minute. A victim may also suffer from headache, nausea, and fatigue or drowsiness. They may have trouble sleeping or sleep more than usual. They could also struggle with speech.

What to do after a concussion

A concussion in Arizona is usually a relatively mild brain injury with temporary ill effects. However, it could potentially lead to more serious complications if not handled properly. We at the Law Office of JoJene E. Mills believe that it is best for you to see a doctor after a concussion and follow his or her advice for your recovery.

Nevertheless, it may also be a good idea to have an idea of what sorts of things to do, and which to avoid, following a concussion. 

Electronic medical records may lead to misdiagnosis

In this day and age of advanced technology, many physicians and institutions use electronic medical records to document patient's’ health care symptoms, diagnosis, treatments and prescription medications. Although the technology is designed to eliminate mistakes and potential medical errors by keeping patient information in a format that can be shared easily with other physicians, software glitches in the system have led to many mistakes.

In one case, a woman died of a brain aneurysm which should have been caught during multiple visits to the physician’s office prior to her death. One physician had ordered a brain scan that would have potentially caught the problem, but the electronic system did not send the request to the lab, and the scan was never completed. Other reports of problems occurred when patient notes appeared under the wrong patients, medication lists failed to update, drug interaction warnings would not work in certain circumstances, wrong drugs would appear under patient profiles and lab results were not tracked. All of these software issues cause increased likelihood of medical errors that could harm or even kill patients.

No A grades given to Pima County hospitals

When you step into a hospital, you may want to know whether the institution has been given an A, B, C or D grade when it comes to healthcare safety, negligence and medical errors. This may affect which hospital you visit or whether you drive a further distance to go to an institution that has a higher grade.

A review of Arizona hospitals conducted by Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to improve healthcare standards, graded hospitals across the country based on medical infections, injuries, errors and accidents that occur in these institutions. None of the medical institutions in Pima County were given an A, just Bs and Cs. More than 2,600 hospitals were graded across the country and 32% of these institutions received an A.

What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

As the immediate shock that accompanies the news of your loved one having suffered a traumatic brain injury sets in, your thoughts may turn to one question: what is next? Your perception of TBI's may be that whoever suffers them will automatically need constant care throughout the rest of their lives in Pima. The cost of such care can be massive, and the emotional toll that comes from watching a family member or friend suffer through it can be just as devastating. Yet not all TBI's produce this outcome. Oftentimes, you loved one can indeed make a full recovery. 

How are you to know which prognosis they face? Clinicians conduct a response test immediately upon assuming the care of a TBI victim that might offer you this insight. This response test is measure along what is known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. The GCS measures how well your loved one responds through their motor skills, their speech and with their eye movement. Points are assigned in each category and then combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the point breakdown is as follows: 

  • 13-15 points: Mild brain injury
  • 9-12 points: Moderate brain injury
  • Less than 8 points: Severe brain injury

Women's heart attack symptoms often missed

To many people who live in Arizona, a sudden and intense pain in the chest may well be considered the classic sign that a person is having a heart attack. While this may actually happen in some instances of a heart attack, such check pain does not always present itself in a person who is experiencing a heart attack. In fact, some research has shown that women, in particular, may not exhibit this symptom when having a heart attack.

According to Healthline, the lack of what many consider to be standard heart attack signs in women may well contribute to as many as 50% of women's heart attacks to go undiagnosed or to be incorrectly diagnosed as some other problem. One study found that almost 55% of men who had heart attacks experienced three or more non-chest pain symptoms whereas close to 62% of female heart attack patients displayed at least three signs of non-chest pain.

Wrong diagnosis led to unnecessary surgery

Many people cannot imagine the strong emotions involved when being diagnosed with cancer. You may wonder how advanced the cancer is, what your treatment options are and whether or not you will survive. Now imagine how you would feel if you found out that you were wrongfully diagnosed with cancer, underwent surgery and now suffer irreversible damage due to medical negligence.

This is what happened to an Iowa man who underwent surgery and had his prostate removed due to a medical oversight. The clinic pathologist mixed up the man’s non-cancerous cell sample with another man who had cancerous prostate cells. Due to the mix up, the man was given a wrong diagnosis and was scheduled to have his prostate removed. After having the surgery performed, the clinic discovered the mishap. Consequently, the surgery caused nerve damage and the man is now incontinent and impotent.