Edwards & Kautz
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Paducah Legal Issues Blog

Patients can suffer from hindered doctor-nurse communication

While technology plays a more important role in the health care system than ever, humans are still involved in nearly every aspect of care. As a result, health care mistakes occur all of the time in Kentucky. Some of the most costly errors happen due to communication barriers between doctors and nurses at hospitals and other types of clinics. Around 14 percent of Medicare recipients say they've experienced medical errors while in the hospital.

Patients can help prevent some medical errors by actively communicating with their doctors, nurses and other care providers. Patients should tell caregivers about all their medications and allergies and ask for clarification about any treatment information they're given. In the lead up to surgery, patients can double check that all doctors and involved surgeons agree about the prescribed procedures. People should always speak up if they have any questions or concerns.

Childbearing women could be at risk in the hospital

Women in Kentucky may have good reason to be concerned when they go to the hospital to give birth. While the rates of maternal injury and mortality have declined dramatically in most developed countries, the same is not true of the United States. In fact, the U.S. is the developed country with the highest rate of maternal deaths and injuries, and every year, 50,000 mothers are severely injured during childbirth while 700 lose their lives.

One recent study indicated that at least one-half of all deaths could have been prevented and injuries prevented or reduced if better medical care could have been provided. The study also showed that hospital and doctor errors or delays in treatment were involved in many of these cases. The two most common complications suffered by mothers in childbirth were high blood pressure and hemorrhaging or extreme blood loss. Of the deaths caused by high blood pressure, 60 percent could have been stopped if doctors or healthcare workers had acted more quickly. In addition, 90 percent of the deaths caused by extreme blood loss could have been avoided with quicker treatment.

Road risks during back-to-school time

Sending your kids back to school after a summer at home is another adventure. You probably have a lot to do and a lot to think about as the new school year approaches. But have you considered the increased road risks that might come along with back-to-school time?

There are many new activities going on and people may use the road differently during the school months. Here are a few aspects of back-to-school and road use to be aware of this fall:

OSHA helps employers create safer workplaces

As the economy evolves, the type of work that Kentucky residents and others will perform will evolve as well. It will also change how employees do their jobs and with whom they work. It is not uncommon for employees to work from home or with individuals who speak other languages. OSHA encourages employers to continually track potential hazards that workers may face and take steps to mitigate them in a timely manner.

Employers may solicit input from employees about the hazards that they may face. It is also a good idea to conduct workplace inspections to get more details about possible injury risks and create a plan to prevent accidents from happening. Taking pictures or videos of workplace conditions can make it easier to refer to a previous inspection if necessary or verify that one took place.

Strategies to help seniors take medicine correctly and on time

Kentucky residents of any age can forget things sometimes, but complex medication schedules might be especially challenging for senior citizens. They might need to take pills at different times of the day, and forgotten dosages could lead to medical emergencies. Among older people, as many as 41 percent of them have to take five or more prescription medications daily. A senior could benefit from the adoption of a pill organization strategy. A close relative or caretaker could help a senior set up a reminder system to prevent potentially dangerous mix ups.

The compartment pill organizer represents a simple and affordable method for sorting medications for the week. These organizers separate daily doses between mornings and afternoons. A caretaker can visit a senior every week and reload the containers. An electronic pill dispenser offers a more advanced option that includes alarms that inform a person to take pills at certain times of the day. Smartphone applications also exist that people can use to set up a medication regimen with reminders.

The most dangerous jobs in America, ranked

In December of 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. These stats brought attention to those industries in America that saw the highest work fatality rates. Employers and employees in Kentucky will want to know about the top 10 most dangerous jobs because some of them may be a surprise.

Logging workers had the highest fatal work injury rate, with 135.9 deaths out of every 100,000 full-time or equivalent workers. They were followed by fishing workers (with a rate of 86) and aircraft pilots and flight engineers (55.5). Roofers, trash and recycling collectors, iron and steel workers and truck and sales drivers came next.

Doctor fatigue and stress linked strongly to medical errors

Hospital doctors in Kentucky have a high chance of becoming burned out on the job. Unfortunately, this can affect their performance. A nationwide survey of 6,700 doctors found significant levels of burnout. The lead author of the study defined the traits of burnout as emotional exhaustion and cynicism caused by work stress. He said at any point in time, one-third to half of doctors experience the symptoms of burnout, which can reduce the quality of their medical judgments.

The survey collected information about doctors' feelings about workplace safety, depression, fatigue and suicidal thoughts. A full 11 percent of them admitted to making medical errors in the previous three months. The responses from this group showed a high prevalence of burnout symptoms. This information builds upon other studies that have revealed links between doctor burnout and problems like medication errors, inappropriate lab testing, patient falls, infections and premature death.

What to expect when you’re not expecting a TBI

As the number of drivers on the roads increases, the risk of car accidents also rises. There is no playbook on how to handle injuries sustained during a car wreck that you or a loved one has experienced. Though each traumatic brain injury is unique, there are resources  that can help you learn what to expect when encountering a TBI in your life.

A traumatic brain injury occurs when a head injury causes a disruption in the normal function of the brain. This damage to brain tissue is caused by an external force rather than internal such as a stroke or tumor. The severity of one’s TBI may tell you how life will be after the injury.

Why women often aren't heard by medical professionals

A woman who has heart disease is 50 percent more likely to receive an incorrect diagnosis even after having a heart attack. This isn't the only disparity between sexes when it comes to misdiagnoses. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why women in Kentucky and throughout the country have a hard time being diagnosed properly.

One reason is that women may exhibit different symptoms than a man when experiencing the same health issues. For example, a woman who may be having a heart attack could have symptoms such as fatigue or shortness of breath. Meanwhile, men who are having a heart attack are more apt to have chest pain. Historically, there has been a lack of research into woman's health and the causes of different ailments.

Road deaths surge on the Fourth of July

Kentucky residents who plan to visit friends or relatives during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday may be wise to fasten their safety belts and take extra precautions. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July Fourth is the deadliest day to drive in the United States. Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that drunk driving accidents over the Independence Day holiday period accounted for 40 percent of all highway fatalities between 2007 and 2011.

About 200 road users are killed each year in accidents that take place over the Fourth of July weekend, and alcohol is often discovered to have played a role. Americans buy more alcohol to celebrate the nation's birthday than they do on New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day, according to research conducted by Esurance.

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Edwards & Kautz

Edwards & Kautz
222 Walter Jetton Blvd
Paducah, KY 42003

Phone: 270-908-4914
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