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June 2015 Archives

Toxic residue left behind when using contrast agent during MRIs

As Arizona residents may know, magnetic resonance imaging is commonly used as a diagnostic tool to identify disease and injuries. Gadolinium is frequently used as an agent to enhance the image. However, new research on the use of gadolinium on patients with kidney disease says it may lead to serious consequences.

New report reveals surgical errors still pose threats

We would like to believe that modern medical techniques have all but eliminated the likelihood of surgical errors. And while things may have improved over time, we still live in an age where doctors and other medical professionals can make serious mistakes while carrying out a surgical procedure.

Small-impact traumatic brain injury

Arizona parents, athletes and workers should be aware that despite the prevalence of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, reporting in the news, not every brain injury results from a major injury. Annually, about 1.7 million people are diagnosed with brain injury, and roughly 80 percent of these diagnoses are characterized as mild cases presenting as headaches and dizziness but not involving full-blown concussions. Due to the sensitivity of the brain, however, new research indicates that standards of "trauma" may need to be reduced significantly.

How patients can protect themselves while in the hospital

Hospitals in Arizona and across the country have high standards for patient safety as public reporting and financial incentives for quality patient care help hospitals offer the best care to patients. However, there could be as many as 400,000 premature deaths annually because of mistakes at hospitals that could have been avoided. While hospitals do take many steps to avoid errors, patients can focus on their own safety to help ensure that everything goes correctly while one stays in a hospital.

Proper precautions can help prevent medication poisonings

Without the correct medications, many people would suffer greatly due to illnesses and conditions. Medications can help ease pain, battle symptoms and get us back on our feet so we can get on with our daily lives. But the same medications that are supposed to help can also do harm if they are incorrectly prescribed or are not taken as directed.

NTSB: Collision prevention technology should be standard

Arizona drivers may recall a 2012 report in which the National Transportation Safety Board called for the government to mandate that automakers implement collision-avoidance systems in new cars and trucks as a way of significantly mitigating the severity of injuries resulting primarily from rear-end collisions. In the years since, the federal agency has adamantly continued to press this stance, and it formally renewed its call for widespread implementation of these potentially life-saving systems June 8 in a 60-page report.

Poor communication the cause of surgical errors

Arizona patients may have justifiable concerns about medical errors occurring during surgeries. Although mistakes like operating on the wrong side of the body remain rare, a recently-published study found that insufficient communication among health care workers contributed to avoidable errors called "never events" by the medical community.

Never events caused by human behaviors

Arizona patients may know there are certain types of surgical errors that are seemingly avoidable but that unfortunately occur. These errors are referred to as "never events", because they are incidents that should not happen. In order to determine why these mistakes do occur, researchers with the Mayo Clinic identified 69 events that occurred over a five-year period to patients at its facility in order to determine why they happened.

How do birth defects and birth injuries differ?

Sometimes, complications may arise after a child is born. If an infant exhibits abnormal symptoms, it is very important that he or she be diagnosed to discover the cause. Complications may be the result of a birth injury or a birth defect. But in what ways do these two forms of complications differ?

Research on the genetic causes of cerebral palsy

Arizona parents may be interested in a recent study published in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology" that researched the causes of cerebral palsy. According to the study, up to 45 percent of cerebral palsy cases are caused by genetics. The review was based on earlier findings by the research group which determined that 14 percent of cerebral palsy cases are likely caused by genetic mutation. As gene sequencing techniques continue to evolve, that percentage is expected to grow.

Survey results reveal mortality rates in nursing homes

A study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, yielded results indicating there may be a need for better coordination between hospitals and nursing homes regarding the care of older patients. The study looked at cases of Medicare patients who received treatment for such emergencies as broken bones and strokes.

The increasing use of electronic health records

In Arizona and around the country, the use of electronic health records has become increasingly popular with doctors and other health care practitioners. They have also had an effect in the courtroom as well, as EHRs are often introduced to demonstrate negligence in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The failure to educate surgery patients

Patients in Arizona and around the country who are about to have a surgical procedure performed often fail to be properly informed about what to expect both during the operation as well as afterwards. Health care providers and medical professionals that do not properly educate patients run the risk of being negligent.

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