Articles Posted in Medication Errors

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Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer Anthony S. Bottar, managing partner of Bottar Leone, PLLC, one of Upstate New York’s oldest law firms with a practice limited to medical malpractice, wrongful death, birth injuries, work injuries, brain injuries, and product/premises liability, was elected president of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers, an organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and enhancing the civil justice system.

The New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers boasts a membership of more than 1400 judges, law clerks, law firms, lawyers, paralegals and law students, including: Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers handling cases concerning stroke misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose cancer and failure to prevent a heart attack; Syracuse work injury lawyers handling cases concerning construction site accidents, scaffolding accidents and injuries caused by a fall from a height; Syracuse birth injury lawyers handling cases concerning fetal hypoxia and ischemia, cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy; Utica brain injury lawyers handling cases concerning concussions, post-concussion symdrome and TBI; Watertown medical malpractice lawyers handling cases concerning Samaritan Medical Center negligence and Fort Drum physician mistakes; and Watertown injury lawyers handling New York State Thruway accidents.

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Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is a very serious condition where a baby’s circulatory system does not adapt properly to life outside of the womb. While in utero, a fetus obtains oxygen from the placenta through the umbilical cord. Because there is no real need for the lungs before a baby is born, a fetus maintains high lung pressure which causes blood to steer away from the lungs and toward other developing organs via a “switch” known as the ductus arteriosis.

After birth, a baby needs to breathe. In babies with PPHN, the ductus arteriosis does not close on day one of life, leaving blood directed away from the lungs and low blood oxygen levels. While many babies suffer from PPHN due to a birth injury, according to Binghamton New York birth injury lawyers Bottar Leone, PLLC, a recent study also links PPHN to maternal consumption of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Symbyaxm Celexa, Cymbalta, Effexor and Lexapro.

The study reported a shocking statistic. That is, that women who took SSRIs during their third trimester were six times more like to deliver a baby diagnosed with PPHN after birth (usually within 12 hours, if not sooner). A failure to diagnose persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn can result in damage to a baby’s brain, kidneys and liver. Many babies with PPHN are diagnosed with cerebral palsy secondary to PPHN oxygen deprivation.
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A recent study of Medicaid patients reveals that the better a patient follows a blood pressure medication prescription, the lower the patient’s risk of stroke and, ultimately death.

According to North Country medical malpractice lawyers Bottar Leone, PLLC, patients who took just one more pill (a week) decreased their risk of stroke by nearly 10%, and their risk of death by around 7%. Most of the nearly 50,000 patients in the study were on two blood pressure medications; however, some were taking as many as six. Roughly 60% of the patients did not fill their prescriptions 80% of the time. These patients, known as non-adherent patients, were .5% more like to die over a five-year period.

There are many different types of blood pressure medications. Diuretics, such as Amiloride, Bumetanide, Chlorothiazide, Chlorthalidone, Furosemide, Indapamide and Spironolactone, decrease blood pressure by causing the body to purge excess fluids and sodium. Angiotensin Converting Enzymes (ACE) inhibitors, such as Benazepril, Captopril, Enalapril, Fosinopril, Lisinopril and Moexipril, decrease blood pressure by allowing blood to flow more freely, which makes the heart’s job easier. Beta blockers, such as Acebutolol, Atenolol, Betaxolol, Bisoprolol, Carteolol, Metaprolol, Nadolol and Sotaolol, decrease blood pressure by decreasing heart rate and cardiac output.
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As many as 200,000 people die every year due to mistakes made in U.S. hospitals. Central New York hospitals are no exception.

In 1992, a 64 year old woman presented to Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, New York, for cancer therapy. She was supposed to receive an injection of carboplantin, but due to a medication mistake made by a hospital pharmacist, the woman received cisplantin. Cisplantin is far more powerful than carboplantin. Because of the Crouse Hospital prescription medication error, the woman died.

Probably because the woman was the wife of New York State Court of Appeals Judge Richard D. Simoons, Crouse administrators accepted responsibility for undeniable Central New York hospital negligence, stating that it was an “unmistakable human error.” The hospital also stated that “it would not surprise us if we settled this without going to a lawsuit.” Whether a lawsuit was necessary to secure compensation for the woman’s pain and suffering is unknown.
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Meridia (sibutramine) is a weight loss drug marketed by Abbott Laboratories. It acts on chemicals in the body that are associated with weight maintenance. In most people, consumption of the drug, which can be taken with or without food, results in a 4 pound weight loss over the course of 4 weeks (when joined with a low calorie diet).

The Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will require that Meridia bottles be labeled with a warning that the drug may increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, especially in patients with a history of heart problems. The new label will further emphasize how Meridia can cause a heart attack or stroke in people suffering from hypertension, irregular heart beats, or heart failure. If you have had a heart attack while taking Meridia, or if you have had a stroke while taking Meridia, your doctor may have made a medical mistake by prescribing you a drug that was not safe given your history.

If you take Meridia, you should see you doctor on a regular basis so that he or she can monitor your blood pressure and pulse. The drug should not be taken for longer than 2 years.
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Prescription medication errors occur every day. Most drug mistakes are harmless; however, the prescription of improper medications can have severe consequences, including coma, stroke and death. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) one person dies every day because of a medication error.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices, in conjunction with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, recently unveiled the National Alert Network for Serious Medication Errors (“Network”). The Network will notify as many as 35,000 pharmacists and medical professionals every time a medication error is reported. The hope is that notifications will raise institutional awareness about medication errors and, in turn, decrease the number of wrongful deaths caused by prescription drug mistakes.

Abbreviation errors lead to many mistakes in the administration of medication. Examples of common mistakes include confusing Bt (bedtime) with BID (twice daily), 10mg (ten milligrams) with M (risking 100x overdose), and IJ (injection) with IV (intravenous).
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