Archives for : April2013

New Surgical Technology Inspiring Med Mal And Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Innovation is critical to patient safety and quality of care. The medical profession has made remarkable strides in the past several decades. New technologies, medications, protocols and general knowledge have informed patient care and safety for the better. However, we must not be duped into believing that simply because a new technological tool or drug exists that it is automatically safe and preferable to an alternative.

A shocking number of surgical errors and patient complications have recently arisen as a result of robotic surgical techniques. Not all robotic techniques are the same and some have been adequately tested and found to be successful. However, other techniques are dangerous and are being heralded as “the best” alternative simply because they are new and innovative.

Before patients go under the knife and the robotic arm, it is critical that they educate themselves about the technology their surgeons will be using. What is the technique’s success rate over all? What is the technique’s success rate in-house and in regards to the specific surgeon performing the procedure? Failure to educate yourself about these baseline facts can cost you dearly.

Of course, it is ultimately up to the surgeon to take responsibility for mistakes make on his or her watch. Should a physician employ an unsafe tool or procedure or make a mistake while attempting to aid a patient, that physician could ultimately be held responsible for medical malpractice.

For the benefit of both any patient and general patient safety, it is critical that physicians think twice before using new tools and procedures simply because they are new. And patients should understand that they can protect themselves simply by educating themselves and insisting upon another approach if the suggested tools or procedures seem unnecessarily dangerous or untested.

Source: Standard-Examiner, “New lawsuits, deaths bringing more scrutiny for robot surgery,” Robert Langreth, Mar. 7, 2013

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires…And Distracted Driving

In the 1940’s, the United States Forest Service adopted a mascot named Smokey the Bear. In his famous ad campaigns, Smokey educates kids and reminds adults that “only you can prevent forest fires.” This message of personal responsibility and potential consequences of forsaking that duty has resonated with generations of Americans.

Currently, a similar message is being spread by the government and safety advocates regarding not forest fires but distracted driving. Distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States annually. For better and worse, the only ones who can ultimately prevent distracted driving accidents are individual motorists themselves.

For one tragic reason, the age group most in need of this message is teens and young adults. Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of this age group. As distracted driving is the number one contributor to vehicle crashes, it is imperative that this age group especially receives this message clearly.

Youth is often defined as a time of pushing boundaries and of learning from both successes and mistakes. It is biologically predetermined that teens and young adults will make mistakes. Unfortunately, pushing boundaries, rebelling or simply being careless by engaging in distracted driving is a behavioral mistake with potentially deadly consequences.

Ultimately, it comes down to individual motorists to prevent distracted driving behavior and associated accidents. Failure to take this responsibility seriously could lead to fatal accidents and imprisonment for vehicular homicide. Just as it is with forest fires, only you can prevent distracted driving.

Source: Monticello Times, “Preventing distracted driving is a concern for all,” Tom Kelly, Mar. 7, 2013