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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.

What Are the Benefits of Seeking a Second Opinion After a Diagnosis?

It isn’t always necessary to get a second opinion. Common, relatively minor medical problems like sinus infections and pink eye have straightforward treatment regimens that are widely accepted by medical professionals. But in some cases, a second opinion can prove invaluable. Medical malpractice lawyers recommend getting a second opinion after a diagnosis of any potentially life-threatening, disabling, complex, or rare condition.

Second opinions reduce the risk of a misdiagnosis.
Doctors have advanced education and training, but they’re still capable of making mistakes. It’s possible for another doctor to see something that the original physician overlooked. By talking to another physician, you’ll learn whether the initial diagnosis was made without the benefit of various lab tests and imaging scans that you should have had. The second doctor might even discover that appropriate tests were ordered, but were somehow left out of your records, and so they weren’t considered when the initial diagnosis was made.

You’ll discover the original doctor’s level of confidence in the diagnosis.
Good doctors aren’t offended when their patients inform them that they are seeking a second opinion. On the contrary, most doctors should welcome the idea, as it means their patients are proactive, and they are truly getting involved in their own healthcare. Plus, a doctor who has full confidence in his or her diagnosis will also have confidence that another doctor will confirm the diagnosis. If your doctor attempts to dissuade you from talking to another physician, this could be an indicator that getting a second opinion is imperative, and also that you may want to switch doctors.

You’ll get more information about your diagnosis.
Even if the initial diagnosis is correct, getting another opinion can still be beneficial. Some patients talk to another physician when they aren’t fully satisfied with the information given to them. Another doctor can help address your questions more thoroughly, and he or she can discuss your treatment options with you.

Medical negligence lawyers serving patients in New York urge families to seek a second opinion after any major diagnosis. Unfortunately, it’s still possible to be affected by medical malpractice even after taking steps to protect yourself. If you feel you could benefit from our legal advocacy services, please don’t hesitate to call us at (516) 858-2194.

What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim?

In the legal field, time limits on filing medical malpractice claims are known as statutes of limitations. State law establishes the deadlines for particular types of claims filed within that state. In New York, patients effected by medical malpractice have just two and a half years to file a claim. There are limited exceptions to this rule and in regards to the specific type of medical malpractice. There are also shorter statutes of limitations when the malpractice occurs in New York State owned and operated hospitals or a hospital owned and operated by a municipality. Whether the injured party is an adult or a child, alive or deceased, all impact the time to file a law suit.

Get in touch with a malpractice law firm in New York as soon as possible after realizingyou may have been subjected to medical negligence, such as emergency room errors, or misdiagnosis,. You can call the dedicated team at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC at (516) 858-2194.

Spotlight on Common Medical Negligence Risks in 2017

Medication errors, birth injuries, and delayed diagnoses are all common types of medical malpractice that probably won’t ever be eliminated entirely. Improvements in hospital protocols and medical technology can help manage some of the risks. But unfortunately, advanced technology also opens the door to new types of medical negligence. Here are some of the top risks to watch out for during 2017.

Electronic Heal th Records (EHRs)

The days of paper patient charts are officially over. These days, doctors are more likely to consult a laptop or iPad in the exam room. Electronic health records (EHRs) document, manage, and share patient information in real time with other authorized users. This means that a patient’s lab results can be made instantly available to his or her primary care physician. When used properly, EHRs can be highly effective in coordinating a patient’s care. Unfortunately, not all doctors are adapting well to the digital age. If a healthcare provider has access to a patient’s EHR, but fails to refer to the vital information included in it, it’s possible to make a crucial error. For instance, the doctor might prescribe a medication a patient is allergic to or which is incompatible with other medications the patient is taking.

Patient Identification
Despite technological advances, errors in patient identification are still among the most common types of hospital negligence. When the wrong information is attached to the wrong patient record, it’s possible for doctors to administer incorrect treatment or even to perform the wrong sort of surgery. Hospitals have a responsibility to take reasonable preventive measures, such as by implementing strict registration desk protocols. Hospitals are also responsible for verification of patient’s identity wrist bands prior to administration of medications.

Here at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC, we understand the confusion and mixed feelings that can follow an act of medical malpractice in New York. Our professionals can help you understand the issues involved with your case, and sort through your options for legal recourse. Call us at (516) 858-2194.

How Birth Injuries Can Affect New Mothers

Birth injuries are a particularly tragic type of medical malpractice. It’s devastating to learn that a child will have a lifelong disability before he or she has a chance to enjoy childhood. Sometimes, new mothers are also affected by injuries during labor and delivery, and these can be fatal. After a wrongful death, families need answers and they deserve justice. A wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate for some cases of maternal death.

Causes of Wrongful Death of the Mother

Despite the advanced healthcare system in the U.S., this country has the worst record for maternal deaths among developed nations, and more than half of those deaths are preventable. It’s possible for new mothers to suffer a fatal medical problem before going home from the hospital, but many of them die days or even weeks afterward. Some experts suspect that one reason for this is that the increased attention on the well-being of the newborn corresponds with a decrease in attentive care of the mother. As a result, hundreds of new mothers in the U.S. die from the following:

  • Heart problems, including cardiomyopathy
  • Massive postpartum hemorrhage
  • Infections
  • Preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension)
  • Blood clots

Elements of a Maternal Death Case
Every civil lawsuit must have certain elements present to proceed. In maternal wrongful death cases, it must be proven that the mother’s death was the result of medical malpractice, and the surviving family has suffered losses as a result of the wrongful death, which can include loss of financial support, household services, love, and guidance. It’s possible for a lawyer to file the lawsuit against multiple parties, which may include the hospital, obstetrician, nurses, and other physicians who rendered negligent care and treatment.

Consequences of Maternal Death
The death of a new mother is an unimaginable tragedy. The child will never have the opportunity to know his or her mother, and the other family members must cope with caring for a newborn in the midst of their grief, as well as their own individual loss. Nothing can make this situation better, but a lawsuit can give the family a sense of justice, as well as compensatory damages for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of support and companionship.

Pegalis & Erickson, LLC offers our sincere condolences to families affected by wrongful death. There is nothing that can bring your loved one back, but you may wish to pursue justice with a wrongful death lawsuit filed in New York. Call (516) 858-2194 and let us know how we can help your family.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is also a good time to be aware of some common breast cancer malpractice issues, including the misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Misdiagnosis
Approximately one in eight women in the U.S. is affected by breast cancer according to the American Cancer Society. For women in the United States, breast cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer. It is also, unfortunately, one of the most often misdiagnosed forms of cancer.

In many cases, breast cancer presents with subtle symptoms. Breast lumps, for example, are a common sign of breast cancer—yet many breast lumps are benign and coincide with hormonal changes. Sometimes, lumps are located in nearby lymph nodes in the armpit before they are located in breast tissue. Other more visible symptoms include skin changes such as dimpling of the breast, nipple discharge, itching and scaling of the nipple, and breast or nipple pain.

Breast cancer diagnosis becomes challenging because of its nonspecific signs, which mimic many other less severe conditions. Still, it is important to mention any breast changes to your doctor, who can order further diagnostic exams to pinpoint the exact cause.

Delayed Diagnosis of Breast Cancer
A delayed diagnosis of breast cancer results in delayed treatment, which can cause women to lose their lives. Patients with invasive lobular carcinoma— a certain type of breast cancer— are especially susceptible to a delayed diagnosis, which can have serious consequences.

In cases of misdiagnosis, doctors may treat patients for another condition, possibly causing damage to the body while the cancer continues to grow or even metastasize, which can result in increased symptoms and may be fatal. As with other forms of cancer, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer are key in increasing survival rates.

The five-year survival rate for breast cancer is nearly 100% for Stage 0 and Stage I, but a delayed diagnosis may not be found until the cancer moves into Stage II, III, or IV (which only has about a 22% survival rate).

If you have suffered from a breast cancer misdiagnosis or a breast cancer delayed diagnosis, contact Pegalis & Erickson, LLC for a case review at (818) 858-2914.

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