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According to statistics collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), there are over 700,000 knee replacement surgeries performed in this country every year. A recent study has concluded that at least one-third of total knee replacement surgeries are unnecessary. In medical terms, knee replacement is referred to as total knee arthroplasty (TKA).TKA is often recommended for patients who have chronic pain from badly damaged knee joints. During the procedure, the damaged cartilage and bone is removed and replaced with an artificial joint manufactured out of high grade plastics and metal alloys. There has been a marked increase in the number TKAs that are performed every year. Data reveals the number of procedures tripled between the years of 1993 to 2009. Some studies suggest this increase is due to a correlated increase in obesity in this country. Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond analyzed the data of 175 patients who had undergone a TKA procedure. They developed a classification system to determine which patients were good candidates for the surgery. Some of the criteria the research team looked at were the ages of the patients and the location and extent of their pain. The research team also used the patient’s WOMAC score. This score is obtained by having the patient fill out a questionnaire that asks the patient to rate stiffness, symptoms, pain and daily living functions. The conclusion of the research team was that 34 percent of the patients who had undergone a TKA were never good candidates for the surgery. The authors of the study wrote, “It seems reasonable to question whether TKA was the most appropriate intervention. Most of these subjects either had pain and functional loss profiles that were less than half that of typical patients undergoing TKA or they had no joint space narrowing.” If you have suffered illness or injury from unnecessary medical treatment, contact an experienced New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what legal compensation you may be entitled to.
Three years ago, in July of 2011, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) placed restrictions on the number of shift hours that trainee surgeons (interns) could work. The reason behind the move was because of pressure received from both the government and the public over the amount of preventable medical errors that were occurring because interns were sleep deprived from the long hours they were forced to work. ACGME placed a 16 hour shift limit for first year residents. More senior residents are allowed to work up to 28 hours per shift. This replaced the prior restrictions, which had been in place since 2003, which allowed doctors in training to work up to 80 hours per week. However, although interns may be getting more sleep, there is now concern that they are not getting enough experience because of shorter amount of time they are spending treating patients. According to a new study published in JAMA Surgery, surgeon interns actually participated in surgeries 26 percent less that surgeon interns did four years ago. Researchers analyzed the cases of 52 interns who were working under the new restrictions. They also analyzed cases of 197 interns from the years 2007 through 2010, before the new restrictions were in place. The average number of operations each of the 52 interns participated in was 66. The average number of operations each of the 197 interns participated in was 89. There were also decreases in the number of cases where the interns were assisting more experienced surgeons, as well as the number of major cases where the intern was the lead surgeon. Surgeons in training are required to participate in 750 major cases by the end of their fifth residential year. In a recent presentation at the annual meeting of the American Surgical Association, a professor from the Indiana University School of Medicine expressed the concerns that many in the medical community have with the new restrictions. Dr. Samer Matter, who also researches surgical training, said that 20 percent of fellowship program directors, who administrate surgical residency programs, feel that new surgeons coming out of these programs are not ready to operate. If you have received injuries as a result of a surgical error, contact a New Braunfels personal injury attorney to find out what civil action you may be able to file in order to receive compensation for pain and loss.
A never event refers to problems during or after surgery that are major mistakes made by surgeons and medical personnel. There are several different types of never events, each more horrifying than the next. A patient who becomes the victim of one of these types of incidents needs the assistance of an expert personal injury attorney to pursue a medical malpractice claim. Types of “never events” include a foreign object, like something used during the surgical process (think of a towel, sponge, or other pieces of debris) being left in the patient’s body. Sometimes, surgeons may not even be aware that something has fallen into a surgical cavity. The wrong procedure may even be performed on a patient, something which isn’t realized until the surgery is complete. Finally, physicians might operate on the wrong site at the body, leaving patients with a surgery they didn’t expect and a surgery they will need to reschedule. There can be serious complications as a result of these never events, some of which patients may not even realize immediately after the surgery is complete. Foreign objects left inside may cause chronic pain and even problems with surrounding organs, and an unnecessary surgery can do more harm than good. Patient may have to schedule additional tests and operations simply as a result of doctor error. With the cost of healthcare going nowhere but up, it’s a serious concern for patients who aren’t getting what they bargained for in the operating room. Recent research from Johns Hopkins suggests that the number of these so-called “never events” is actually growing, leading to more complications for patients and increased medical malpractice claims. One of these mistakes made during surgery can alter the quality of life and health for a patient, so if you have been a victim, contact an New Braunfelse injury attorney today.
Connie Spears’ leg was amputated unnecessarily because ER doctors first sent her home from the hospital with extensive tissue damage and a severe blood clot, even after she told them of her history with blood clots. After being turned down by many lawyers to take her case because of the “tort reform” in Texas made the negligence laws more anti-patient, she found a lawyer who couldn’t turn her down. Although her luck appeared to have turned upward, the case soon fell apart because of the new expert-witness rules. Spears had to prove the ER doctors were “willful and wanton” in their negligence, but she also had to find “a practicing physician in the same specialty as the defendant to serve as an expert witness” to say it. To top it off, if she “fails to produce adequate reports within 120 days of filing their cases, she is liable for defendants’ legal fees.” The New York Times wrote, “With her retirement savings tapped and her husband out of work, she is afraid they will lose their home.” New York Times writer Pauline Chen, M.D. also wrote that “doctors have started to shift their focus from the financial aspects of malpractice to the untold hours spent focused on lawsuits.” Insurers today, however, often are able to settle legitimate claims with patients before there is even a court case filed, as well as paying valid claims expeditiously. Many people are skeptical of the new laws in Texas; however, if you have had a problem with a doctor in Texas, the right lawyer can help you. If you have been injured at the fault of your physician contact an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for you. Texas attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm can help you win your court case.