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A birth injury is damage to a baby during labor and delivery, also known as the birth process. Generally, birth injuries are due to a lack of blood flow (ischemia), a lack of oxygen (hypoxia), acidosis, internal forces (pressure applied by the birth canal), and/or external forces (pressure applied by a healthcare provider). Commonly, a Syracuse birth injury lawsuit is based upon a constellation of medical malpractice, including obstetrician mistakes, obstetrical group errors, and nursing negligence.

There are many risk factors for a birth injury. Risk factors for a birth injury include large-for-date infants, post-date infants, macrosomia, excessive maternal weight gain, gestational diabetes, inadequate pelvis, prolonged labor, rapid labor, and a prior complicated delivery.

Birth injuries can be mild, moderate or severe. Common examples include Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s paralysis, cerebral palsy, cranial nerve palsy, facial palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, periventricular leukomalacia, hematomas and fractures.
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Crouse Hospital, a 506 bed facility located in Syracuse, New York, was fined $10,000.00 by the New York State Department of Health for hospital negligence. Specifically, for failing to thoroughly check the background of an employee who sexually assaulted a mentally disabled patient in 2008.

In 2008, Crouse Hospital used “companions” to sit with patients in need of continuous supervision. It secured the “companions” from a contractor. Before exposing disabled patients to the “companions,” Crouse failed to check to see whether the individuals were properly qualified. According to the State — which issued the maximum fine — there was no evidence that Crouse Hospital checked backgrounds of the “companions” who, in many cases, were providing care to patients such as inserting suction tubes and assisting with other activities of daily living.

Crouse Hospital
no longer uses “companions.”
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Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication affecting 10% of women. It is marked by high blood pressure and proteinuria (protein in the urine). Symptoms usually emerge in the 20th week of pregnancy, and include: headaches, hand and foot swelling (edema), excessive weight gain and, in extreme cases, blindness.

Preeclampsia must be timely diagnosed, because if left undiagnosed it can develop into eclampsia. Eclampsia can cause seizures, brain damage and death (for mother and child). Worldwide, preeclampsia is responsible for 500,000 infant deaths and 76,000 maternal deaths every year.

According to a recent study conducted by scientists at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institute of Health, there may be a connection between maternal plasma concentrations and the risk for developing preeclampsia. The relationship between maternal plasma and preeclampsia should lead to a decrease in medical malpractice due to the late diagnosis of preeclampsia, as doctors will be able to screen for a patient’s predisposition to develop the dangerous condition.
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A press release issued by Auburn Memorial Hospital advertises that “iSuites” will enhance surgical safety and decreases incidents of medical malpractice and hospital mistakes.

According to Scott A. Berlucchi, President/COO of Auburn Memorial Hospital, the new surgical suites will be equipped with specialized lighting booms and television monitors, in order to enable surgeons to better control the configuration of the operating room. The new technology will also permit storage and recall of surgical imagery (photos and video taken during surgery). The iSuites are also expected to make the hospital more profitable and efficient, in that the operating rooms can be modified quickly to accommodate a multitude of surgeries.
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Syracuse University Hospital was recognized recently by the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program as one of 25 participating hospitals that achieved “exemplary outcomes for surgical patient care.” Good surgical outcomes should mean that University Hospital’s liability for medical malpractice should decline.

The National Surgical Quality Program focused on a handful of clinical areas, including deep vein thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, pneumonia, surgical site infections and urinary tract infections. According to John McCabe, M.D., University Hospital’s CEO, “[t]his recognition from the American College of Surgeons underscores University Hospital’s commitment to patient safety and quality surgical care,” Further, “[t]his distinction ensures patients that they will receive the best care possible at University Hospital, and celebrates the work and dedication of our medical staff in providing this exemplary care.”

The National Surgical Quality program was created to reduce the number of poor surgical outcomes, such as infections following surgery, as well as deaths due to surgical mistakes. The Program currently is used in more than 250 hospitals.
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St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, a 431 bed Syracuse hospital, recently announced that its cardiac rehabilitation program received recertification by the American
Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACPR).

Recertification means that St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center met AACPR standards, including: methods for disease management, disease education, risk factor intervention, and symptom recognition.
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Before the internet, it was almost impossible for patients to learn about doctor qualifications, including where a doctor went to medical school, whether a doctor has published articles or performed research in the field, whether a doctor has made a mistake and been sued for medical malpractice and, if so, how many times and the outcome of each lawsuit.

Patients now use the internet to investigate their ailments and their doctors. Amy L. Friedman, M.D., a Syracuse transplant surgeon who works at SUNY Upstate Medical University, believes that at least 10% of her patients research her qualifications before they meet her. In a recent article published in Renal & Urology News, Dr. Friedman stated that a transplant patient recently found her CV online and attempted to secure copies of her articles. His interest was in the “most controversial ones.”

Dr. Friedman stated that she does “not have confidence that all patients are able to sort through such resources with recognition of the most valid and accurate information.”
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Gestational diabetes is a condition where a pregnant woman’s body is unable to make or use enough insulin. Insulin is hormone that causes cells in specific areas of the body, such as the liver, to take up glucose from the blood.

Gestational diabetes is very common pregnancy complication. As many as 5% of women develop the condition. In most cases, the diabetes resolves after pregnancy (however, gestational diabetes increases the risk of diabetes later in life). Gestational diabetes has almost no visible symptoms. It is usually diagnosed through glucose testing performed around the 25th week of pregnancy. Undiagnosed gestational diabetes can be the result of medical malpractice.

Often, gestational diabetes can cause an fetus to grow very large, which can increase the risk of birth injuries such as cerebral palsy and erb’s palsy. As such, many women with gestational diabetes undergo c-sections.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes include obesity, family history of diabetes, prior gestational diabetes, maternal age greater than 25 years, more than 5 prior pregnancies, and a history of stillbirth.

Treatment for gestational diabetes includes Insulin and diet changes.
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Syracuse-area hospitals and doctors fail to diagnose medical conditions everyday. These failures to diagnose form the basis of lawsuits for medical malpractice and wrongful death. Generally, most failure to diagnose lawsuits arise of out heart attacks, breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and appendicitis.

That being said, there are thousands of people walking around Central New York with undiagnosed medical conditions. The following conditions frequently go undiagnosed:

* osteoporosis (1 in 15 with condition go undiagnosed);
* hypertension (1 in 18 with condition go undiagnosed);
* COPD (1 in 18 with condition go undiagnosed);
* thyroid disorders (1 in 20 with condition go undiagnosed);
* sleep apnea (1 in 27 with condition go undiagnosed);
* diabetes (1 in 47 with condition go undiagnosed);
* aneurysm (1 in 136 with condition go undiagnosed); and
* AIDS (1 in 1,208 with condition go undiagnosed).
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According to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, most doctors are aware of the mistakes they have made. Of the doctors polled, almost all could recall the instances when they misdiagnosed a patient, or made a diagnosis too slowly. On average, each physician polled reported an extraordinary 2.2 errors.

The most common misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses reported were pulmonary embolism, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, drug reactions, and strokes.
The most common reasons for the misdiagnoses were failure to order laboratory tests, failure to review the results of laboratory tests ordered, inadequate histories, inadequate physical examinations, failure to order a consultation, and failure to consider alternate causes for the patient’s symptoms.
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