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Connecticut Medical Malpractice Law Blog

Avoiding pharmacy errors

It is surprisingly easy for pharmacy mistakes to take place, but it is also easy to prevent these errors. Connecticut residents might like to know about why these errors occur and how they can be prevented.

Common pharmacy errors sometimes occur on the prescriber's side when listing the wrong medication or the right medication but the wrong dosage. A practitioner might also miss the harmful interactions certain drugs can have together or fail to warn patients about hazardous side effects. Other mistakes happen in the pharmacy itself. Pharmacists typically work 12-hour days during which they may fill hundreds of prescriptions. Overworked staff trying to complete as many orders as possible can lead to errors. The pharmacist also might not have sufficient training. If an error occurs on the prescriber side, a skilled pharmacist might be able to spot it before damage is done.

Court determines disclosure of HIV status is medical malpractice

Connecticut patients who are HIV-positive may be interested to learn about a New Jersey case that involved a physician who disclosed a patient's HIV status to a third party without the patient's consent. The patient claimed that the physician's disclosure violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The plaintiff was reportedly being treated for acute kidney failure. During a consultation in the plaintiff's hospital room, the physician allegedly disclosed the patient's HIV status while a third party was in the room. The patient claimed that they did not give the physician consent to discuss this medical condition in the presence of the third party. In addition to arguing that the physician violated HIPPA, the complaint also asserted that medical malpractice had occurred due to improper disclosure, harmful public disclosure of private facts and violation of the AIDS Assistance Act.

Importance of early diagnosis of foot bone tumors

While cancerous bone tumors of the feet are rare, it is important for them to be correctly diagnosed and treated quickly as these types of cancer are very aggressive. When a cancerous bone tumor is initially misdiagnosed, it may result in metastatic cancer.

There are several types of noncancerous bone tumors in the feet. These tumors may affect people of all ages and may appear as small bumps under the skin. They are generally painless, but people should have any suspicious-looking bumps on their feet examined by their doctors. Cancerous bone tumors of the feet may have similar symptoms as some noncancerous bone tumors, stress fractures or infections. This makes a good differential diagnosis very important.

Female patients more likely to be misdiagnosed

Many Connecticut patients are aware that medical errors can result in serious complications. Some may even be aware that almost all patients will experience at least one diagnostic error during their lives. While the numbers are already high, female patients actually have a higher chance of receiving incorrect diagnoses, particularly when it comes to heart attacks, strokes and autoimmune diseases. There are several reasons for this.

First, some doctors believe that women may be too emotional and thus may miss symptoms when female patients are describing their problems. This may be in part because women often tell stories around their symptoms, potentially causing doctors to lose sight of the most important information. However, symptoms for women are often both physical and psychological, causing some doctors to diagnose a female patient with stress even though she may actually be suffering from a heart attack.

Damage caps for medical malpractice victims

Connecticut residents might like to know about the changes taking place in several states concerning medical malpractice laws. While only a few states like Washington, Florida and Illinois have decided against caps on noneconomic medical malpractice damages, other states could follow.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals is the latest judiciary body to deem caps on noneconomic medical malpractice damages to be unconstitutional. The appeals court looked at how damages were awarded and found that caps reduce noneconomic damages for those most severely injured while less severely injured malpractice victims are awarded full damages. This denies equal protection under the law to those in excess of the cap, which makes the statutory cap unconstitutional.

Squamous cell carcinoma diagnosed in more young people

Connecticut residents may be concerned to learn that squamous cell carcinoma is becoming more common in younger people. While this type of skin cancer most frequently affects people over 50, doctors are seeing more and more people in their 20s and 30s present with the disease. This is especially true of women under the age of 40.

Fair-skinned people run the most risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma, but long-term exposure to the sun or UV rays can increase the risk for anyone. This includes UV exposure from indoor tanning. Each year, it is estimated that 419,000 skin cancer cases in the United States are caused by tanning beds and other indoor tanning systems. Studies show that people who frequently use indoor tanning systems are around 2.5 times more likely to develop SCC. Women make up over 70 percent of tanning bed users.

Managing urea cycle disorder

For Connecticut patients afflicted by a urea cycle disorder, vigilant monitoring of dietary protein is necessary to avoid a dangerous build up of ammonia in the bloodstream. Ideally, a team of medical specialists will support the patient in efforts to control the disorder. A patient could benefit from a team comprised of a geneticist, metabolic dietician, nurse practitioner and neuropsychologist knowledgeable about urea cycle disorders.

The condition arises from a genetic mutation that deprives the person of an enzyme necessary for removing ammonia from the body. Caregivers must strictly manage the patient's protein intake to prevent hyperammonemic crises. Keeping the protein level of the diet sufficient to feed tissues and promote growth presents an ongoing challenge if the patient is a child. Frequent blood tests provide information for calibrating the diet.

Common dosage errors happen by factors of 10

Some Connecticut patients may have been prescribed drugs at some time that were available in doses that differed by a factor of 10. The problem with these kinds of dosages is that it can be easy to make errors. For example, in a number of cases, patients who were supposed to get 2 mg of Abilify received 20 mg instead. One child took 68 doses that were 10 times higher than prescribed before the error was discovered and suffered side effects including frequent crying and depression. A patient who was prescribed 10 mg of doxepin was instead given 100 mg and suffered drowsiness and fatigue as a result.

One source of errors is the lack of leading zeros and use of trailing zeros. In the former case, this means that if someone writes .5 mg instead of 0.5 mg, it could be mistaken for 5 mg. In the latter case, it means that 1.0 mg could be misread as 10 mg.

Medical errors causes more than 250,000 deaths annually

Each year, many Connecticut patients suffer from medical mistakes. Medical errors are prevalent in hospitals and doctors' offices across the U.S. and lead to many deaths. A study has revealed that the problem is even more pervasive than was previously thought.

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't account for malpractice in its mortality rankings. The researchers found that medical malpractice leads to the deaths of more than 250,000 people every year in the U.S. The mistakes fell into a few primary categories, including failing to prevent adverse effects, diagnostic errors, system issues and mistakes in judgment, coordination of care and skill issues.

Surgery for early prostate cancer not needed, study says

Connecticut men who have been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer may be interested to learn that a long-term study concluded that prostate cancer surgery does not offer any significant benefits for those who have localized tumors. In fact, those who had prostate cancer surgery were more likely to suffer complications without the benefit of living longer than those who did not have the surgery.

The study found that, for every 100 men with early-stage prostate cancer and localized tumors, only four fewer who had the surgery died when compared to those who received nonsurgical treatments. When medical complications associated with the surgery were studied, however, it was found that 30 to 40 out of 100 men who had the surgery suffered erectile dysfunction within five years of the procedure. Thirty of 100 men also experienced urinary incontinence within 10 years of the procedure.


Tooher Wocl & Leydon LLC is a law firm experienced in handling wrongful death, medical malpractice, auto accidents, fall down claims, nursing home negligence and abuse, car crash and motor vehicle collision lawsuits. The personal injury trial lawyers handle cases throughout Fairfield County. If you have been seriously injured in Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, Bridgeport, or anywhere in Connecticut, please call one of our litigation attorneys at 203-517-0456, or email the firm to schedule a free consultation.

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