Pegalis & Erickson
The blog of PEGALIS & ERICKSON, LLC: a medical malpractice law firm in Long Island representing those suffering from injuries caused by medical errors. Contact us for a free legal consultation today.

Breast Cancer and Misdiagnosis: What Patients Should Know

When you are facing breast cancer, one of the last things you want to discover is that a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis could have compromised your prognosis. Unfortunately, troubling statistics indicate that misdiagnosis or late diagnosis happens far too often for breast cancer patients. According to the Journal of the National Cancer Society, physicians who use mammogram films to make diagnoses but don’t specialize in the field miss breast cancer up to 71% of the time. Likewise, diagnostic errors don’t always apply to missed or late diagnoses but also staging. If you feel your breast cancer was not timely diagnosed, here is what you need to know about medical negligence in breast cancer diagnostics and how you can become empowered as a patient.

How do breast cancer misdiagnoses happen?
Avoidable medical errors happen daily in hospitals and doctors’ offices across the country, and breast cancer misdiagnosis or late diagnosis are among the mistakes that medical professionals make. Misdiagnosis and late diagnosis can happen at several different stages in the process. In some cases, mammograms, sonograms, or digital films may not be read appropriately. In other cases, the results of a biopsy may not be tested appropriately and may provide incorrect results. Because early treatment is so crucial for breast cancer patients, a missed diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis not only means that treatments have to be more invasive and cause more significant quality of life issues, but it could also lead to loss of life that may have been preventable with earlier intervention.

What can patients do?
As a patient, it is important to be proactive about your care. Ask questions, speak up when you have concerns, and don’t take anyone’s word simply because he or she is a medical professional. Demand follow-up testing, second opinions, and anything else you need to feel confident that you are getting the right answers about your health.

Pegalis & Erickson helps patients facing medical malpractice, including missed diagnoses, get the compensation they deserve. Dial (516) 858-2194 and talk to a medical malpractice attorney on Long Island to understand your rights.

Are You Legally Entitled to Interpreter Services in Hospitals?

During a stressful visit to the hospital, it’s often challenging for patients to keep track of their providers’ questions, instructions, and recommendations. It’s even more challenging, if not downright impossible, for people with limited to no English proficiency to participate in their own healthcare. This is why New York hospitals and all those receiving federal funding are legally required to provide interpreter services when they are needed to allow equal access to healthcare services. A violation of this requirement might constitute medical malpractice in the situation concerning informed consent to treatment.

Some states have also passed legislation to ensure all patients’ right to understand and participate in their own healthcare. California leads the nation with the number of these laws on the books. But unfortunately, many physicians are still unfamiliar with the mandate to provide interpreter services and language access can be implemented differently from hospital to hospital.

The medical negligence lawyers of Pegalis & Erickson, LLC handle a wide range of medical malpractice cases, including emergency room errors, birth trauma, wrongful death, and medication errors. Patients are invited to call (516) 858-2194 to speak with an attorney at our medical malpractice law firm in New York.

The Parent's Guide to Hip Dysplasia

The proper functioning of the hip joint is essential for basic movement and for overall quality of life. While hip problems are often associated with older adults who have arthritis, they can also affect children and infants. Hip dysplasia refers to the instability and dislocation of the hip joint. Most often, it is present at birth, although it may develop during the first year of the child's life. In some cases, the failure of a physician to diagnose and properly treat hip dysplasia may constitute an act of medical malpractice.

The presence of hip dysplasia by itself does not always indicate medical negligence; sometimes, the hip joint has simply failed to develop properly. Developmental hip dysplasia is more common among girls, first-born children, those with a family history of the condition, and cases that involve low levels of amniotic fluid. It can also occur more frequently in newborns born in the breech position. Medical organizations now recommend that all breech-born newborns be given an ultrasound to check for hip dysplasia.

There are different degrees of severity of hip dysplasia. Some children might not demonstrate noticeable symptoms. Parents might only notice that something is wrong when the baby has legs of different lengths, reduced flexibility and mobility on one side, or uneven skin folds on the thigh. As the child grows older and begins to walk, he or she might limp or otherwise take on an abnormal gait.

Developmental hip dysplasia is best treated as soon as possible. When this condition is present at birth, it is incumbent upon the attending medical staff to detect the problem and recommend appropriate treatments. If the condition is detected at birth, the newborn is placed into a Pavlik harness, which is a soft positioning device that holds the hip joints in the proper positions while they develop.

At Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, our medical malpractice lawyers approach every case with the dignity and sensitivity that patients deserve. If your child has birth injuries or may have suffered from other forms of pediatric medical malpractice, you can speak with one of our medical malpractice attorneys in Long Island, New York. Call (516) 858-2194 today for a free consultation.

How Improper Prenatal Care Can Lead to Birth Injuries

In some cases, a birth trauma has its roots in an incident that happens during labor, but in other instances, medical negligence outside of the delivery room is to blame. Prenatal care is essential for your baby’s health and can also contribute to an easier labor and delivery. When medical negligence occurs during prenatal care, birth injuries could be the result.

Without proper prenatal care, doctors may not diagnose infections in the mother that can cause birth injuries in babies. They may also fail to diagnose conditions that require additional precautions to be taken in the delivery room, such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

If you’re concerned that poor prenatal care resulted in an injury to your child, consult with a medical malpractice lawyer at Pegalis and Erickson. Make an appointment to review your case with an experienced malpractice and birth injury lawyer on Long Island, New York today by calling (516) 858-2194.

Zika Virus Symptoms and Your Patient Rights

UPDATE: September 20, 2016
A new study noted in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports some people infected with Zika develop conjunctivitis, an eye infection common known as “pink eye." Although the Zika infection had been identified in urine, semen, saliva and breast milk, the study noted Chinese travelers who had been infected in Venezuela were found to have the virus from eye swabs five to seven days after symptoms occurred.

UPDATE: September 15, 2016
On September 7, The World Health Organization updated its assessment of the Zika virus as a cause of congenital brain abnormalities in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults, after considering months of research into the mosquito-borne disease.

UPDATE: August 19, 2016
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommend that men who have had symptoms of Zika not attempt to father a child for six months after their illness. They also suggest that men who have been ill practice safe sex or abstinence if their partner is pregnant.

Since 2015, articles about the “new” Zika virus and the potential spread of the virus worldwide to some 30 countries have been highlighted in the news. Scientists are researching how and why a virus first identified nearly 70 years ago as benign, could now pose such a grave risk, most especially to pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, and men who may be infected and impregnate women. To date there is no vaccine or treatment for Zika. Due to these concerns, it is urged that everyone, especially women of child-bearing age, be proactive in this regard and not wait until symptoms appear. Everyone should avoid bug bites by using insect repellents, removing any and all standing water, and scrubbing with soap any areas that mosquitoes eggs could have been laid. Currently men who have symptoms and have contracted the Zika virus have been recommended to ensure they do not impregnate women for at least a few months. Zika Virus Symptoms and Your Patient Rights

Common Zika Virus symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes, although some infected people do not have any Zika Virus symptoms. Zika Virus Disease is thought to be spread to people through the bite of infected mosquitoes, and through sexual transmission. Mosquitoes that spread Zika are aggressive daytime and nighttime biters. Zika Virus infection in pregnant women has recently been declared a definite cause of microcephaly. That condition causes babies to be born with smaller heads and major developmental challenges that are potentially lifelong. The virus is also associated with other severe fetal brain defects, and has also been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that can cause paralysis. Experts have begun calling the host of conditions linked to the virus in babies, Congenital Zika Syndrome, as recently some babies born with disabilities are more severe than in textbook microcephaly cases.

Of the more than 3,000 U.S. pregnant women travelers tested for Zika so far this year, coming from afflicted areas, a full 28% of them had Zika, and most, but not all, had rash, fever or red eyes. We believe that women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should talk with your doctors about your risks in general of having or contracting the disease, and about travel to currently-known Zika infested areas, including the potential for the spread in the southern gulf states of the United States.

Here in the U.S. preparations have begun for the possible spread of Zika this summer, particularly in the southern Gulf States. The federal government is now offering all US states funding to boost their prevention plans. US health officials predict large outbreaks in the U.S. are not as likely because of wide use of air conditioning and window screens. However, we want to urge all pregnant women and women of child-bearing age to take every precaution possible to avoid mosquito bites, sexual transmission of the disease, and to carefully consider travel to known areas of wide-spread Zika virus.

The CDC recommends that pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant or who may wish to become pregnant:

  • Should not travel to any area with Zika.
  • Women that must travel to, or live in an area with Zika virus, should talk with healthcare providers and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites
  • Women with a male partner(s) who lives in, or has traveled to an area with Zika, should abstain or properly use condoms every time they have sex
  • Before women or male partner(s) travel, talk to healthcare providers about plans to become pregnant and the risk of Zika virus infection
  • Women and male partner(s) should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites

It was merely months ago that health officials thought the Zika virus was not transmitted through sexual activity. Now, the CDC has an excellent video available to the public about preventing the Zika virus, based on the currently known methods of transmission, including sexual transmission. Previously, microcephaly was considered a rare birth defect. Today doctors working with infants in South America with Zika virus say some may never learn to talk or walk, will have trouble seeing, could develop epilepsy. Officials indicate that there may be a spectrum of problems with a baby’s health that don’t show up as microcephaly.

If you have medical-legal concerns regarding your pregnancy or your baby’s health, please don’t hesitate in contacting our experienced New York medical malpractice law firm for a free consultation to ensure your rights are protected. Call Pegalis and Erickson at (516) 684-2900. Or email us at ATTORNEY ADVERTISING

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