Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bad News: Medical Mistakes Become the Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

New research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) claims medical mistakes have become the third leading cause of death in America, right behind cancer and heart disease. In a strange twist of irony, it seems hospitals may be among the most dangerous places for your health. A similar study published in 1999 discovered medical mistakes were responsible for 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually. That number has increased to 251,000 deaths per year. Readers of our blog have been introduced to various ways patients can be killed while seeking treatment at hospitals, such as misdiagnosis or medication mistakes. If fatal medical mistakes were properly recorded, it is possible they could be prevented. Unfortunately, gathering data on fatal medical mistakes has historically been problematic for hospitals, as death certificates are often lacking important information. Can Better Record Keeping Prevent Medical Mistakes? The study published in BMJ used examples to describe how…
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Brave New Ward: Will Robots Replace Surgeons?

Robots are continuing to take more roles in our workforce, whether it be assisting drivers, factory workers or other jobs that have been historically performed by humans. In the near future, surgeons may be assisted by autonomous robots to carry out highly complex medical procedures with perfect accuracy. For almost two decades, da Vinci machines have helped surgeons carry out surgical procedures. Da Vinci machines use robotic arms to help guide surgeons, but they are not autonomous. New technologies are far more exciting. Researchers associated with Children’s National Health System (CNHS) and Johns Hopkins University recently performed open bowel surgery on pigs using autonomous robotic equipment. The Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) can help surgeons perform operations that would otherwise be highly risky and difficult. STAR can use three-dimensional imaging and night vision to perform surgeries in the dark. It can see through and read the temperature of soft tissue….
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Can This Family Change Florida Wrongful Death Laws?

Two weeks ago, we wrote a blog discussing the consequences of hospital overcrowding on patient safety. A recent story involving the parents of a woman who died due to hospital overcrowding can serve as further evidence for our point, but it can also show why Florida’s wrongful death laws can be perceived as unfair. The 31-year-old woman died while seeking treatment at Wuesthoff Hospital in Rockledge. According to her parents, she was forced to wait in the hospital emergency room for more than 10 hours while succumbing to dangerously low blood sugar. By the time she had received treatment, it was too late. She fell into a diabetic coma and died four weeks later. When her parents tried to file a lawsuit against the hospital, they were blocked by Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, which stipulates parents of adult children (over the age of 25 in most circumstances) cannot sue for…
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