Injuries Caused by Improper Radiation Therapy

 

Radiation therapy can be beneficial when used correctly, but when it is
done improperly, it can cause devastating injury. Our team explains what
some of the causes of injuries are, what injuries can be sustained, and
how serious this type of medical malpractice can be.

Potential Causes of Radiation Injuries

The primary cause of radiation injury is overexposure—an area of
the patient’s body is exposed to too much radiation or for too long
of a duration, both of which can result in serious injury to internal
organs and structures.

Overexposure of radiation can be due to improper planning. A miscalculation
can result in excessive radiation being delivered to the affected area.
Likewise, failure to localize internal organs that move slightly from
day to day can result in over-radiation and serious injury.

Injuries Caused

Internal organs can be seriously injured by over-radiation. The spinal
cord is particularly susceptible to injury when radiation is used to treat
lung cancer and other cancers in the chest. Because radiation often causes
a delayed reaction, these injuries may not show up until some time after
treatment.

How Serious Is It?

The severity of the injury depend on a number of factors, the amount of
the overexposure, how fast it occurred, how much the body received, tissue
sensitivity, other abnormalities, the age of the patient, and the patient’s
general health. These can all determine whether the radiation exposure
injury is mild, moderate, or severe.

Sometimes radiation injury is unavoidable. However, when severe radiation
injury occurs, it is sometimes the result of medical negligence. Our
Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Hampton & King are here to stand by the side of injury victims.
We know what it takes to successfully represent the rights of our clients
and help them seek the compensation they need and deserve.

Have you or someone you love been harmed due to overexposure of radiation?
Need to pursue legal action?
Contact our team today to better understand your rights.

 

Complications of Hyponatremia

 

Hyponatremia is the name for abnormally low sodium levels in the blood. A number of underlying conditions in the human body can result in the sodium becoming diluted, increasing the water in the body and thereby causing cells to begin to swell. Problems with varying severity can result because of hyponatremia. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of hyponatremia, the potential complications, and the treatment options available.

Potential Risk Factors

There are a few potential factors that can increase an individual’s risk of developing hyponatremia. Unfortunately, some are very common factors and may be difficult to avoid. Risk factors associated with hyponatremia include:

  • Age — as individuals get older, they may have more potential risk factors for hyponatremia. These age-related changes, and the increased potential of developing chronic diseases, may change the balance of sodium in the body.
  • Medications — some medications, such as diuretics, antidepressants, and pain medications can change the sodium balance and increase the risk of hyponatremia.
  • Serious conditions — conditions such as kidney disease, heart failure, and syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) can cause the body to decrease its water excretion. This can cause hyponatremia.
  • Physical activity — when physical activity intensifies and one drinks too much water, sometimes replenishment of the sodium they lose as a result of sweating does not occur. This is especially true for individuals who participate in long-distance activities such as marathons.

Symptoms

Hyponatremia has varying symptoms, some of which can be mild, while others are more severe. Mild or moderate symptoms include nausea, vomiting, confusion, headaches, energy loss, fatigue, irritability, restlessness, muscle weakness, spasms, and cramps. Some of the more severe symptoms can include seizures or coma. Individuals who are at an increased risk of developing hyponatremia should speak with a physician.

Complications

There are two types of hyponatremia: chronic and acute. Chronic hyponatremia is associated with moderate symptoms and complications, characterized by falling sodium levels over the course of two days or more. Too-rapid correction of hyponatremia can result in a dangerous brain injury called Osmotic Demyelinization Syndrome (ODS), also known as Central Pontine Myelinolysis (CPM).

Acute hyponatremia causes sodium levels to drop quickly, increasing the risk of severe side effects and rapid brain swelling. Premenopausal women may be at the greatest risk of developing brain damage associated with hyponatremia.

If a person has hyponatremia, but their doctor misdiagnoses the condition, fails to order the proper tests, or fails to administer the correct treatment, serious complications may occur, some of which can even be fatal. Our Houston medical malpractice attorneys at Hampton & King can help determine if malpractice was the cause of serious injuries or death and guide our clients in seeking compensation.

Call us today to discuss a potential lawsuit.

 

Mistakes in Newborn Intubation

 

The moments immediately following the birth of a baby are supposed to be the best time for a mother. They get to hold their baby for the first time and begin bonding. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong and the baby needs resuscitation, it can cause more fear and concern than it does joy and happiness. A medical complication may require the doctor to intubate the baby. Intubation is when a flexible plastic tube is placed into the baby’s trachea in order to help open the airway and allow the baby to be hooked up to ventilator or oxygen machine.

If done properly, intubation can successfully help the infant breathe. However, if there is an issue with the way intubation is done or if not done with the proper timing, it can cause significant damage to the newborn.

Here are some of the mistakes that can arise during newborn intubation:

  • Failure to recognize the need for resuscitation. The obstetrician is supposed to monitor the entire labor and delivery, but if they fail to note the need for resuscitation, the baby may go without oxygen for an extended period of time and suffer brain damage caused by asphyxia or hypoxia.
  • Improper intubation. Malposition of the tube can result in hypoxic injury. If the tube is jammed into the Carina, or inserted into the esophagus, the flow of air to the infant can be diminished or cut off entirely. This can lead to permanent, or fatal injuries.Similarly, misintubation can include inserting the tube into a bronchus rather than the trachea, making a lung vulnerable to collapse. This is also known as right mainstem bronchus intubation.
  • Misplacement of Laryngeal Mouthpiece AirwayWhen administering anesthetic to newborns, special consideration of their airway size is necessary. Utilizing the correct LMA and inserting it correctly is vital to prevent hypoxemia and brain damage.
  • Choosing the wrong size tube. Cuffed tubes run a half size larger than uncuffed tubes. Where a 3.5 uncuffed tube would be appropriate, a 3.5 cuffed tube might be too big. A tube that is too large can cause serious breathing problems.

Improper newborn intubation can cause neonatal encephalopathy, cerebral palsy, paralysis, vocal cord damage, pneumothorax, or death. As a mother, if your baby has suffered harm at the hands of a negligent medical professional, you have the right to take legal action against the responsible party to seek compensation for things like medical expenses, long-term care, mental anguish, and more. You need the help of a skilled attorney to help you navigate the difficult process.

At Hampton & King, our Houston birth injury attorneys have the experience and skill necessary to obtain the justice you and your family deserve. We are committed advocates focused on righting the wrongs caused by negligent doctors. Allow us to protect your family today.

Contact us to discuss a potential case and to better understand your options.

 

What Is Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

 

Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) is a complication of pregnancy in which
the size of the baby’s head is disproportionate to the size of the
mother’s pelvis – a condition that can result in difficulty
during labor. It is important that CPD be recognized and that health care
professionals understand how to remedy the situation before complications
arise that could injure the baby or mother.

Some of the potential causes of CPD include:

  • Increased fetal weight. This can be caused by diabetes, mothers who have
    had multiple children, hereditary issues, and babies who have gone beyond
    the due date and further than 42 weeks.
  • Abnormal fetal position including face or brow presentation. Another potential
    challenge would be if the baby presents in the occipito-posterior position,
    in which the fetus is positioned facing the abdomen rather than the mother’s back.
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion may be due to a mother’s smaller pelvis
    or abnormal pelvic shape. Other pelvis problems can include congenital
    deformity of the sacrum or coccyx or congenital hip dislocation.
  • Genital tract issues, such as tumors, congenital vaginal septum, and cervix
    scarring can also lead to CPD.

CPD may be diagnosed when the obstetrician uses pelvimetry or ultrasound
to assess the size of the birth canal or the size of the baby’s
head and body. If it is determined that CPD is present and vaginal delivery
will be difficult, the safest and most effective alternative is for the
obstetrician to perform a cesarean section (C-section).

Proper fetal monitoring is important to determine the potential for issues
such as CPD. Any attempts to deliver the baby naturally when CPD is present
can result in serious trauma to the baby, leading to birth injuries. It
is important for the doctor to make sure they recognize the signs of a
potential complication, because if it is not handled correctly, they could
end up causing harm such as a prolapsed or compressed umbilical cord,
Erb’s palsy, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy,
and more. Injury to the mother such as uterine rupture or uterine atony
may also occur.

If an obstetrician is negligent in diagnosing CPD or does not take the
proper steps to prevent potential birth injuries, they may be held legally
accountable. Hampton & King has the experience, skill, and tenacity
necessary to give you peace of mind knowing your birth injury case is
in good hands. Our Houston birth injury attorneys are prepared to review
your case and potentially build a case strategy designed to hold the negligent
party responsible for the damages you may have incurred. We are ready
to help you take the legal action you need to receive compensation and justice.

Believe you’re a victim of medical negligence? Call our firm today.

 

Risks of Fetal Macrosomia

 

During a woman’s pregnancy, there is potential for the baby to grow
beyond the average size of seven pounds, eight ounces. When the baby weighs
more than eight pounds, thirteen ounces, the World Health Organization
and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists considers
them to be macrosomic.

There are numerous potential causes of macrosomia, including the following:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Extra weight gain in pregnancy
  • Post-term pregnancy
  • History of macrosomia

During pregnancy, doctors must monitor potential risk factors to help determine
if macrosomia is a possibility. If they determine that a baby is above
average size, they must also make a determination regarding the possibility
of cephalopelvic disproportion, which is when the size of the baby is
disproportionate to the size of the mother’s birth canal. Failure
to do so can result in serious complications during a natural birth.

If the obstetrician suspects that the baby will weigh more than the average
baby and there is a potential for cephalopelvic disproportion, they may
opt to deliver the baby via cesarean section to help prevent injury to
either the mother or the baby. Attempting a natural birth when the baby
is over the normal size can result in a broken collarbone on the baby,
tearing of the perineum, traumatic brain injuries, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, and more.

These types of situations can lead to the baby having long-term damage
such as cerebral palsy. It is critical that the obstetrician pay close
attention when monitoring the mother and baby to determine if a cesarean
section delivery is necessary. Failure to do so may be considered negligence
on the part of the obstetrician and lead to lifelong injuries and conditions.

At Hampton & King, our
Houston birth injury attorneys understand the potential risks associated with macrosomia and how it can
impact both the baby and mother during labor. In many cases, women who
have a baby suspected to be macrosomic will give birth with very little
to no problems at all. Other times, it can have severe side effects that
could have been prevented.

We stand with our clients after a medical professional’s wrongdoings
have caused them or their babies harm. We take action on their behalf
because we understand the hardships that they are facing. It is our goal
to help victims of negligence pursue the compensation they need and deserve
after negligence has caused them severe harm.

Call us today if you or your baby were harmed due to failure to monitor for macrosomia.
We’re here to help you every step of the way.

 

Types of Encephalopathy

 

Commonly used as a general term for a brain disorder or disease, encephalopathy is a serious condition that impacts the function of the brain. The severity of the abnormality varies, and can be classified as either transient, recurrent, or permanent, possibly being reversible over time. There are various types of encephalopathy that each cause serious symptoms, with potential causes varying from trauma to the brain to genetic conditions. It is important to understand what types of encephalopathy exist and what treatment options you may have.

The following are examples of different types of encephalopathy:

  • Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy – Commonly referred to as CTE, this is one of the more noticeable types of encephalopathy. It is caused by trauma or injury to the brain, such as from multiple concussions. It has been a recent topic of conversation due to lawsuits brought against the National Football League and World Wrestling Entertainment.
  • Hypoxic Encephalopathy – This type of disorder occurs when there is not enough oxygen going to the brain. This is common in birth injuries when a baby is either experiencing umbilical cord strangulation or other complications before birth.
  • Static Encephalopathy – When the brain does not receive enough oxygen, such as when alcohol is present in the womb, it can cause permanent brain damage or dysfunction. This condition is called static encephalopathy.
  • Hypertensive Encephalopathy –Extremely high blood pressure can cause hypertensive encephalopathy, which can result in seizures, headaches, loss of consciousness, and nausea.
  • Wernicke’s Encephalopathy– More common among chronic alcoholics, this is bleeding in the lower brain (the thalamus and hypothalamus). These areas control vision and coordination. The condition is actually caused by a severe lack of Vitamin B-1, or thiamine deficiency.

Many times, encephalopathy can result from a birth injury due to the negligence of a medical professional (examples include prolonged labor or failure to monitor). One of the most common forms of encephalopathy linked to birth injuries is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, in which the brain and other organs do not receive enough blood and oxygen. HIE caused by asphyxia is one of the nation’s leading causes of infant fatalities and severe infant disorders.

The symptoms of HIE and their impact on brain function vary based on the severity of the injury. If a baby experienced mild HIE, they may only suffer minor issues, if any, during their life. For more severe cases, though, a baby may have serious cognitive issues, delays in motor skill and development, and/or epilepsy.

There are many potential causes of HIE, including the following:

  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Placental abruption
  • Severe fetal anemia
  • Cardiac disease
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Preeclampsia
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Uterine hyperstimulation

As with any type of encephalopathy, fetal monitoring is very important, as it can give an early warning of the development of potential issues. If an obstetrician does not perform proper monitoring of a baby and mother, it can be considered negligence and they may be held accountable for any resulting injury.

At Hampton & King, we recognize the dangers of encephalopathy and how serious it can be for anyone dealing with the symptoms. We also know that when this disorder is caused by negligence, the victims have specific rights that they can assert to take legal action against the negligent party. You shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of somebody else’s mistakes. Let our Houston HIE lawyers work with you to determine the exact cause of your injury and who can be held liable. We can help you seek justice after you or your child has sustained a serious condition.

Call Hampton & King today to discuss your potential case.

 

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Medical Negligence Lawyer

If you or your loved one has been seriously injured by a medical professional
— a doctor, nurse, obstetrician, surgeon, anesthesiologist, etc.
—who do you turn to? With all of the lawyers claiming expertise
in medical malpractice litigation, how do you decide who to hire? Who
would be the best lawyer to trust with such an important case? Here are
some factors to consider and some questions that you might think about asking:

What Kind of Experience Do You Have?

There are many law firms who handle all types of personal injury cases.
However, medical malpractice occupies a very complicated and specialized
niche in tort law. The Texas Legislature and courts have set traps that
can derail even the most meritorious case. Therefore, it is important
to hire someone who handles more than just the occasional medical malpractice
case, someone whose skills are sharpened by representing patients every
day. When you have someone who dedicates their practice to holding medical
professionals accountable, you can feel peace of mind knowing that the
attorney you hired can deliver state-of-the-art representation.

Will My Lawyer Be Handling the Case?

Many law firms want to sign up medical malpractice cases so they can refer
them to specialists in return for a referral fee. Likewise, senior lawyers
often pass cases off to junior members of the firm. Make sure you are
talking to the lawyer who will actually handle your case. Get a commitment
that your case will not be handed off to someone else.

What Resources Do You Have?

Medical malpractice cases are demanding for a number of reasons. Your attorney
will be required to have a command of the relevant medicine, the medical
literature and science. Does he or she have the technical resources to
develop your case? Does the attorney have a network of experts in the
particular medical specialties involved? Does the firm have in-house nursing
staff to assist with preparation? And since medical malpractice cases
care expensive—often requiring the investment of $100,000 or more,
does he or she have the financial resources to see the case through to
conclusion? Having access to these resources can make a big difference
in the outcome.

Do You Have the Time to Devote to My Case?

Will your case be a priority or will it simply be another case in an assembly
line? Will the attorney focus on your case? Does the attorney believe
in your case and be committed to obtaining the best possible result? Will
he or she make the type of investment, both of time and resources, that
you and your family deserve?

Have You Had Success In These Cases?

The past is the best predictor of the future. Ask about the lawyer’s
experience in medical negligence cases in general and cases that are similar
to yours. And ask about success rates. Having success means that the lawyer
knows what it takes to build a strong case strategy. Has he or she been
recognized for accomplishments in this area of law? A proven history of
results should show that the lawyer is respected for his or her abilities
in this practice area.

Houston Medical Negligence Attorneys

At Hampton & King, we recognize that you have a choice with who you
hire to represent you against a negligent medical professional. Our
Houston medical negligence lawyers have the skill, experience, and resources necessary to help you reach
the outcome you desire. We stand by your side every step of the way, working
to help you secure compensation and obtain justice.

Call our firm today and learn how our team can help you. We have the abilities you need to
put this situation behind you and move forward with a favorable result.

 

NICU Errors

 

Babies who are born prematurely often have breathing issues, as well as
other conditions, and may require admission into the hospital’s
neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for additional care and close monitoring.
This is a frightening time for any parent, especially because newborns
are often rushed to the NICU with very little explanation as to what is going on.

Unfortunately, mistakes can be made in any part of the hospital. Even the
smallest error by a NICU doctor or nurse can have a huge impact on a baby
and the way he or she develops, and in the worst cases may result in permanent
injury. Below are some of the most common NICU errors.

Medication Errors

According to a study on MedScape[1], between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2006, there were a total of
6,749 NICU medication errors reported by more than 160 healthcare providers.
Nearly half of the errors reported involved administration of medication.
Of the 1,788 errors in which there was information provided about the
outcome, a majority of those patients (40.9%) required additional and
increased monitoring or hospitalization. The next highest amount was 31.8%,
and these patients required drug therapy changes or initiation. A low
number of patients experienced issues with breathing.

There were 2,706 reports that included information about actions that were
taken after the error. Of those reported, 48% resulted in the staff member
who made the error being informed and 17.5% involved other staff involved
in the error being informed. Just 12.3% of the cases reported education
and training, and procedure modifications were present in just 1.2% of
the cases.

Failure to Monitor

Babies who are admitted to the NICU require careful and additional monitoring
and treatment if necessary. Failure to do so can lead to serious injuries
and conditions from which the baby may have a difficult time recovering.
Failure to monitor can lead to the baby developing brain damage, hypoxic
ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), sepsis, cerebral palsy, meningitis, or
other developmental issues.

Failure to monitor can also delay necessary diagnosis and treatments that
the baby may require. When certain conditions are left for a prolonged
period of time — such as breathing problems, brain bleeds, or hypoxia
— it can result in long-term damage to the baby. This is also the
case when intubation is necessary to help the baby breathe properly, as
a lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage.

Doctor Error

When a baby requires certain treatments, it is up to the doctor to make
sure procedures are completed correctly. Some of the more common procedures
that may become necessary are ventilation, insertion of a feeding tube
or IV, resuscitation, or intubation. If these procedures are not performed
properly, it can result in the baby sustaining a serious injury, such
as damage to the esophagus or internal organs. Similarly, a delay in providing
these treatments can cause severe problems or even result in death, especially
in the case of delayed resuscitation.

Houston Birth Injury Lawyers

Any kind of birth injury is serious. It is the responsibility of the doctor
to make sure that a baby is properly monitored during the pregnancy, in
the labor and delivery process, and after birth. If they fail to do so,
or if some other act performed by medical staff causes a baby harm, the
parents have the right to seek legal counsel. At Hampton & King, our
Houston birth injury attorneys understand how difficult this time can be, which is why we work hard to
help you hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.

Call our firm to speak with a skilled legal professional and learn what you may be able
to do to seek compensation.

The Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

 

According to a new study published in the BMJ — formerly the British
Medical Journal — researchers have determined that
medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States [1],
trailing only heart disease and cancer. Based on the results of the study,
medical errors result in the death of roughly 251,000 people each year.
That is over 100,000 more than the next highest leading causes of death,
respiratory disease (147,000), accidents (136,000), and stroke (133,000).

The study was led by Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns
Hopkins University School of Medicine, whose analysis included communication
breakdowns, system errors,
surgical errors, emergency room errors,
medication errors, anesthesia errors, and more. It also includes what are called medical
“never events,” such as operating on the wrong person, operating
on the wrong body part, or leaving a foreign object in a patient after surgery.

In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called medical errors “an
epidemic.”[2] This has led to numerous discussions and debates about
what can be done to help reduce the number of deaths as a result of
medical malpractice. The 250,000 death-toll number translates to about 700 deaths each day
— about 9.5% of all annual deaths in the nation. The recent research
used four large studies from 2000 to 2008, including those conducted by
the Agency for Health and Human Services, as well as the Health and Human
Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

The study was conducted to highlight potential dangers that need to be
fixed. For example, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
does not have any standards in place that require medical professionals
to report medical errors in the data collected regarding death. Dr. Makary
urges to this to change so medical professionals would be required to
report when a preventable error leads to death.

Kenneth Sands, a healthcare quality director at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Center, not involved in the study, observed that the most surprising thing
about the medical error epidemic is that there has not been much improvement
in the safety precautions since the IOM report was released in 1999. The
only improvement, according to Sands, was in the rate of hospital-acquired
infections.

Dr. Makary suggested that medical facilities take a lesson from the way
the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approaches airplane crashes
and investigations. He said that the first step is to measure the problem
to determine the issue and cause. He claimed that in aviation accidents,
pilots learn from the results of investigations and results are widely
reported so others can understand what went wrong and avoid the same fate.

At Hampton & King, we know the devastation that medical errors cause
victims and their families. It is important for these individuals have
dedicated and committed representation on their side to help hold health
care providers accountable for their actions. Call our Houston medical
malpractice attorneys and discuss your potential claim with our devoted
team today. We may be able to help you seek the compensation you deserve
and obtain justice on your behalf.

 

Issues Concerning C-Section Delivery

 

Birth injury cases typically deal with the questions revolving around cesarean
section. Should nursing personnel have recognized ominous fetal heart
strip patterns that signaled the need for emergency C-section? Did they
notify the attending obstetrician in time for a C-section to have been
performed before the baby was injured? Did health care personnel move
quickly enough in performing the C-section after the decision was made?

Increasing the Need for a C-Section

Many obstetrical complications must be resolved with cesarean delivery.[1] These can include breech presentation, umbilical cord prolapse or entanglement,
macrosomia and placental abruption. Prolonged labor or premature delivery
sometimes result in C-section. Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome often require
C-section to save the life of the mother and baby.

However, C-section is a significant surgical procedure and it involves risks.

Potential Dangers of a C-Section

During the cesarean section, both the mother and baby are at risk of injury[2]. The mother may sustain injury to adjacent organs, resulting in heavy
bleeding. Anesthesia is required, which carries its own set of risks.
After the C-section delivery, nursing staff must monitor the mother to
prevent and treat postoperative complications, such as hemorrhage, hematoma
or infection[3].

The baby can also be injured during a C-section by physical trauma or negligent
resuscitation[4].

Long-Term Dangers

C-section also poses long-term risks[5]. Post C-section scarring increases the mother’s risk of subsequent
placenta accrete, placenta increta, and placenta percreta. It is important
for the doctor to recognize these potential issues. Also, if the doctor
allows the mother to go through a vaginal birth after a cesarean section,
this could be dangerous for the mother.

Before you go into labor, you should understand the potential risks involved
with a cesarean section. In some cases, mothers have a planned cesarean
section because they have conditions that would make natural labor dangerous.
You should speak with your doctor to understand the dangers involved and
learn more about C-sections.

At Hampton & King, our
Houston birth injury lawyers understand how devastating it can be to sustain an injury during a C-section.
If your damages occurred as a result of the doctor’s negligence
— or because of the medical facility, nurse, or any other medical
professional — you should be able to hold them accountable for their actions.
Call our firm today to discuss your potential case with skilled and experienced attorneys.

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