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November 2015 Archives

Are New Guidelines for Breast Cancer Screenings Putting Women at Risk?


4263660_s-300x300.jpgImage credit: cardmaverick / 123RF Stock Photo[/caption] Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women, and doctors and patients have long relied on vigilant breast screening standards to catch the disease early. With early detection, the prognosis improves, quality of life is enhanced, and the evasiveness of procedures can be minimized. For many years, the mammogram-at-age-40 was the standard for breast cancer screening, but last month, the American Cancer Society (ACS) cast doubt on previous screening standards when it announced a revised recommendation that women begin annual mammograms at age 45, with biennial mammograms beginning at age 55. Additionally, earlier this year, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a draft recommendations reiterating its 2009 recommendations that only women between the ages of 50 and 74 receive screening mammograms, with the mammograms every other year. For women younger than 50 years of age, the decision to get a mammogram should be made on an individual basis, according to the USPSTF, with women under the age of 40 not needing a mammogram at all (barring any special risk factors). The new guidelines - both the new ACS guidelines and the USPSTF guidelines - have angered and confused women and doctors alike. Some women fear that they will now need to pay for mammograms out of pocket or risk late detection of breast cancer that could have been caught earlier. And some medical groups - including the American College of Gynecologists and the American College of Radiology, and Society for Breast Imaging - continue to recommend the mammogram-at-age-40 standard. "If you want to save the most lives, that's the recommendation that will do it," said physician Debra Monticciolo, chair of the American College of Radiology's breast imaging commission. What's more, the conflicting recommendations could add to the confusion about mammograms and breast health. If you are outside of the applicable age range and would like a mammogram, but your doctor will not order one, you may want to get a second opinion. In fact, one of the most important things a patient can do to prevent a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is get a second opinion. According to the New York Times, evidence shows that second opinions can lead to significant changes in a patient's diagnosis or in recommendations for treating a disease, particularly with respect to radiology images and biopsy pathology slides. The medical malpractice attorneys at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to helping the victims of medical malpractice. We will continue to monitor the evolving breast cancer screening standards, and provide updates on developments as they occur. Contact our office at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about a possible medical malpractice lawsuit.     Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.

Understanding Illinois' Seat Belt and Helmet Laws

pDriverAndInstructor_10355204_s-300x200.jpgIllinois law requires all vehicle occupants, including every backseat passenger, to use a safety belt. The only exceptions to the backseat seat belt requirement are ambulances, taxis, school buses, delivery trucks that make frequent stops and do not exceed 15 mph, and anyone with a physical impairment that makes it difficult to wear a seat belt (such as a broken collarbone or shoulder injury). Violations may result in fines starting at $25, which could amount to more, depending on court costs.

Study Shows Staggering 50% Error Rate in Surgeries

pEmergencyRoomVitalMonitor_Dollarphotoclub_57054657-300x200.jpg  The high rate of medical errors is no secret. In fact, medical errors are the third leading cause of death, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. But a new study shows that medical errors - particularly surgical errors - may more often than previously thought. In the first study to measure medical errors in the period immediately before, during, and after a surgical procedure, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that a mistake is made in one out of every two surgical procedures - with one-third of the errors causing injury to the patient. Of those surgical errors resulting in harm to the patient, 30 percent were considered significant, 69 percent were considered serious, and less than two percent were life-threatening. Longer procedures lasting more than six hours had a higher rate of surgical error. After analyzing more than 275 procedures at MGH, researchers found that the most common surgical errors were medication errors, specifically incorrect dosages and mislabeling of medications. "We definitely have room for improvement in preventing perioperative medication errors, and now that we understand the types of errors that are being made and their frequencies, we can begin to develop targeted strategies to prevent them," said Karen C Nanji, the paper's lead author. "Given that MGH is a national leader in patient safety and had already implemented approaches to improve safety in the operating room, perioperative medication error rates are probably at least as high at many other hospitals." It is important to note that just because a medical mistake occurs, it doesn't necessarily mean that medical malpractice was involved. In order to prove a medical malpractice claim, the injured party must show the following:

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