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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.

Knowing the Signs and Risks of Colorectal Cancer

March is officially recognized as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an ideal time to take a few minutes to learn more about this deadly disease and the importance of being a proactive patient. Colorectal cancer, which affects the colon or rectum, is life-threatening, but early detection can save lives. By becoming a proactive patient, you can reduce the risk that misdiagnosis and other forms of medical malpractice will adversely affect your wellness.

Signs and Symptoms
Like other forms of cancer, colorectal cancer often doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms until the disease has already reached an advanced stage. Therefore it is important for patients to be alert to unusual changes in their daily routine and to consult a doctor as needed. Some of the possible indicators of colorectal cancer include very narrow stools, rectal bleeding, bloody stools, diarrhea, or constipation. Some patients may experience the feeling that bowel movements are incomplete. Abdominal cramps, fatigue, weakness, and unexplained weight loss are other possible indicators.

Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
Based on a patient’s symptoms, medical history, and physical exam, a doctor should refer the patient for appropriate diagnostic tests to check for colorectal cancer. The gold standard of colorectal cancer diagnosis is the colonoscopy. Unfortunately, primary care physicians sometimes neglect to consider cancer as a possibility. They may instead diagnose patients with inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), anal fissures, hemorrhoids, or diverticular disease.

Risks
When a patient isn’t referred for necessary medical tests for colorectal cancer and the accurate diagnosis is delayed, that patient may miss the opportunity for timely cancer care. Early treatment can make the difference between life and death for a colorectal cancer patient. When colorectal cancer is detected in its early stages, minimally invasive surgery may be all that is needed to treat it. As the cancer spreads, the patient requires more invasive and life-altering treatments that are less likely to result in a favorable prognosis.

A cancer misdiagnosis is devastating, but the medical negligence lawyers at Pegalis & Erickson, LLC can empower your family. If you suspect that medical malpractice may have caused a loved one’s wrongful death or delayed cancer diagnosis, please call us today at (516) 858-2194. Our malpractice law firm is in Long Island, New York, but is privileged to serve families beyond New York.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

The group of movement disorders collectively known as cerebral palsy is the result of brain injuries or brain malformations that may occur before, during, or after birth. When a child is diagnosed with birth injuries like cerebral palsy, the parents’ priorities are typically to figure out why this occurred and how they can help their child. Determining the underlying cause is particularly important because of the possibility of medical malpractice.

Brain damage and the resultant disorders may be caused by the disruption of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This causes the death of brain cells. For example, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) is damage to the white matter of the brain. When PVL occurs, there is a disruption in the transmission of signals to the muscles from the brain, causing movement problems and also other developmental delays.

If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury and you’re looking for a lawyer near Long Island, New York, you can call the law office of Pegalis & Erickson, LLC at (516) 858-2194. A birth injury lawyer will help you explore your legal rights and options.

How to be a Proactive Patient

Have you ever left a doctor’s appointment feeling more confused than you did when you arrived at the clinic? Many Americans experience this, and unfortunately, it can sometimes lead to health consequences such as taking medications improperly. Health literacy is a crucial skill. It refers to the ability to understand medical information and to use this knowledge to make informed decisions for one’s wellness. A health literate patient may also be more likely to recognize possible acts of medical negligence or improper care when they occur.

It isn’t necessary to go to medical school to understand basic health information. Try following a few simple tips, such as asking your doctor for clarification when there is something you don’t understand. Bring a list of questions to your appointment and take notes during it. If English is not your first language, consider bringing a family member or close friend who speaks English fluently.

Pegalis & Erickson, LLC is a team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Long Island, New York that is dedicated to advocating for the legal rights of families affected by birth injuries, wrongful death, and other acts of medical negligence. We invite patients to call our office at (516) 858-2194 and let us know how we can help.

Heart Health and Early Detection

Did you know that February is American Heart Month? This important public awareness campaign reminds families that heart disease can affect anyone. In fact, many people have serious heart diseases without realizing it. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a medical exam, consider making an appointment to talk to your doctor about your heart health. Remember that just like heart disease, medical negligence can also affect any patient. Don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion.

Screening Tests
When heart disease is left untreated, additional complications can develop. Not all types of heart disease cause noticeable symptoms. High blood pressure, for example, is known as the “silent killer.” This is why health screenings are so important. To support heart health, it’s recommended that patients keep track of their blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels.

Symptoms to Know
Not all cardiac events cause obvious symptoms like crushing chest pain. In fact, many patients suffer a heart attack without realizing it. A heart attack can be subtle, causing symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and abdominal pain. It’s important to be aware of any unusual changes in your health and to bring these issues to the attention of your doctor. Additionally, be mindful of potential problems in the ER. Some patients go to the ER complaining of symptoms of a heart attack and they are told that they are too young or otherwise don’t fit the profile of a typical heart attack patient. If an ER doctor refuses to evaluate you for a cardiac complaint despite your symptoms, seek a second opinion immediately.

The medical negligence lawyers of Pegalis & Erickson, LLC have successfully advocated on behalf of families affected by wrongful death due to the misdiagnosis of cardiac events. If your family has been affected by a wrongful death that occurred in the Long Island, New York area, you’re invited to call us at (516) 858-2194. We’re committed to putting the needs of patients first.

Women's Unique Heart Health Needs

It’s a common misconception that cancer is the most common cause of death in the U.S. But actually, this dubious distinction belongs to heart disease. Both women and men are at risk of heart disease, but women have unique heart health issues. If you’re taking steps to be a more proactive patient to prevent medical malpractice from affecting you, take a few minutes to also learn about your unique heart disease risks.

Contributory Factors
There are some risk factors of heart disease that both men and women share, including abnormal cholesterol levels, obesity, and high blood pressure. Other risk factors disproportionately affect more women than men and certain factors are unique to women. For example, diabetics are at a higher risk of heart disease if they are women than if they are men. Women are also at a higher risk than men because of smoking, mental stress, and depression. One of the reasons why smoking is a more significant risk factor for women is because many women use hormonal birth control methods. Combining hormonal birth control with smoking is not recommended because of the increased risk of blood clots. Furthermore, women are uniquely affected by the hormonal changes of menopause and by pregnancy complications—both of which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Symptom Recognition
Men are more likely than women to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and to call 911 right away. This is because women aren’t as likely to experience obvious symptoms such as chest and arm pain. They are more likely to experience subtle symptoms like dizziness, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, back pain and heartburn-like abdominal pain. Additionally, women often attribute their symptoms to panic attacks, stress, or even hypochondria. This means that women aren’t as likely to seek emergency medical care.

Pegalis & Erickson, LLC is a malpractice law firm on Long Island, New York with a longstanding track record of successfully advocating on behalf of patients and their families. Our medical negligence lawyers support the efforts of patients to become proactive about their medical decisions. To request a one-on-one consult with a medical malpractice lawyer, call us today at (516) 858-2194.

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