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Most people place the utmost trust in doctors and medical practitioners, many times leaving not only their short term health, but also the overall quality of life they will have for years to come in the hands of these men and women. Unfortunately, medical malpractice occurs more frequently than most of us would like to think, and preventable medical damages happen at an astonishing rate in Texas and across the country.

It is alarming that there is no clear cut answer as to the amount of people who actually suffer from medical malpractice. Consider the following list of findings on the prevalence, as well as the severity of the problem:

  • A study conducted by The Journal of Patient Safety in 2013 found preventable medical errors to be the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind cancer and heart disease;
  • Studies by a NASA toxicologist indicated malpractice occurred in 21 percent of all hospital cases between 2002 and 2008;
  • The amount of estimated people who die annually from medical malpractice is estimated to be between 98,000 and 440,000;
  • According to Physicians Weekly 35 percent of all malpractice claims were due to failing to diagnose. In addition, of all malpractice cases, 61 percent took two or more years to conclude, and only 43 percent of plaintiffs received monetary compensation.

While the estimates on the occurrence of medical malpractice can certainly have a large range, even the lowest figure is too high. Perhaps what is most disturbing is the low number of victims who recover damages from their illnesses, injuries, or deaths caused by medical professionals.

It is absolutely critical to consult a professional, and reputable personal injury attorney experienced with medical malpractice cases in every instance of possible wrongdoing. If you are living in South Central Texas, contact The Bettersworth Law Firm today for all your personal injury law needs.

Posted on in Dog Bites

dog bite, lawyer, attorney, New Braunfels injury lawyerSummer is here and that means more people enjoying outdoor activities. Children are out of school and neighborhood streets are busy with activity. It also means more people, both children and adults, are at a greater risk of being bitten by a dog.

According to statistics from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), every year almost 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. Half of those dog-bite victims are children. One in five victims has to seek medical treatment for the bites they receive. Almost 450,000 children need medical attention for the bites they get. In one year alone, 27,000 dog bite victims get bitten by dogs so badly they require reconstructive surgery.

Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old are most at risk of receiving injuries from a dog bite. And men are more likely than women to be victims of dog bites.

Contrary to what most people think, there is no specific breed of dog that is more apt to bite than others. Any dog has the capacity of suddenly biting. It’s important for everyone to know how to behave around an unfamiliar dog, and it is especially critical to teach children how to react to a strange dog. The CDC offers these tips to share with children:
  • Never approach a dog you do not know;
  • Never run away from a dog;
  • Never scream at a dog;
  • Teach children to stay very still – “like a tree” – if a strange dog comes near them;
  • If a dog knocks them down, teach them how to roll themselves up into a ball and not to move;
  • Never play with a dog unless there is an adult supervising;
  • Teach children that if they see a dog they do not know, to stay away and tell an adult;
  • Never lift a hand up to pet a dog’s head. Always keep your hand by your side and let the dog sniff your hand first;
  • Never bother a dog who is sleeping or eating;
  • If you are bitten by a dog, tell an adult immediately.
If your child has been bitten by a dog, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what legal recourse you may have against the animal’s owner.

brain injury, traumatic brain injury, homeless, Texas personal injury lawyerPhysicians at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto conducted a survey of homeless men and discovered that almost half of them had suffered some kind of past traumatic brain injury (TBI).

A traumatic brain injury can have devastating, life-long effects. There can be an alteration in moods, resulting in either reduction in motivation or an increase in aggression. There can be damage to a person’s cognitive capacity, such as the inability to make decisions. Recognizing appropriate and inappropriate social behavior may also be affected.

The researchers for this study questioned 111 men between the ages of 27 and 81 from a local homeless shelter. The definition the study used for homelessness was “living at a shelter within the last seven days and not having a home of one’s own.” Although the men were randomly chosen, there were criteria they needed to meet in order to participate. They had to be able to speak English; they had to be able to give their consent to participate; they could not have any severe mental illness which would pose a safety risk for the researchers. The majority of participants had issues with chronic alcoholism.

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According to a recent study, gastric feeding tubes prescribed for patients who suffer from dementia may actually increase the risk of pressure ulcers, also called bed sores.

Many dementia patients eventually have a difficult time eating. Swallowing especially can be affected by the disease, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia.  As a result, doctors frequently prescribed the insertion of gastric feeding tubes. The tube is inserted in a small incision that is made in a patient’s abdomen and that is how the patient receives nutrition.

Gastric feeding tubes cause many dementia patients to become agitated. As a result, it often becomes necessary to restrain and sedate them. With the patient now restrained in bed for the majority of time, the risk of bed sores greatly increases. The study revealed that 35.6 percent of patients, who did not initially have bed sores before a feeding tube was inserted, developed a stage 2 bed sore (or worse) with the feeding tube. Fewer than 20 percent of patients who did not have feeding tubes developed bed sores.

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head injury, New Braunfels personal injury lawyer, personal injury attorney, negligenceA new study by Scottish researchers from Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow has revealed that adults who are hospitalized with minor head injuries are at almost twice the risk of dying within fifteen years of their injury than someone with no head injury.

Many studies have proven that there is a high risk of death subsequent to a severe head injury, but until now, there had not been a significant amount of research on the effects of minor head injuries. The study’s results were published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, but the researchers are not sure whether it’s long-term effects from the injury or lifestyle that causes the risk to double. The researchers looked at medical records from February 1995 to February 1996 of 2,428 adults who were hospitalized with mild head injuries. The team also had a comparison group of patients who had been hospitalized for other medical issues other than head injuries. A second comparison group was made up of people who had no history of any head injuries and had not been hospitalized. The study then focused on what happened to the subjects of all three groups over the next 15 years. The head injury patients died at a rate of 2.45 percent every year. The first comparison group died at a rate of 1.96 percent every year and the second comparison group had a death rate of 1.34 percent every year. There were more marked differences in mortality rates with the group of minor head injury patients under the age of 55 years old when the study began. Their chance of dying was four times larger than the second comparison group. Researchers also found that adults who get minor head injuries typically have a less healthy lifestyle, including both heavy drinking and lack of exercise, prior to and after being injured. There is also often a history of head injuries. That, the authors of the study say, could be the result of “chronic brain changes” caused by multiple head injuries, but that more research is needed before making a definitive conclusion. If you have suffered head injuries caused by a slip or fall due to a property owner’s negligence, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what civil actions you may be able to take against the owner.

The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

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