View Our Practice Areas

Belleville Legal Blog

Studies look at IT errors in medical settings

In some hospitals, the biomedical and IT departments are not communicating as well as they could be, and that could lead to medical errors for patients in Illinois. According to one study, when hospitals work to improve communication between these departments, patient safety improves.

While networks at many companies can simply be patched or upgraded by IT as needed, this can be dangerous in hospitals if monitoring devices or other equipment is taken offline. Examples of failures that caused problems for devices or data sharing were noted in a study by the ECRI Institute. One was an incorrect data display on a fetal monitor. This could mean the change in a patient's condition is not promptly noted. Two others involved incomplete information being shared. A ventilator networked to a patient monitor did not display all the necessary information, and lab results shared to an electronic health record lacked lab values. By keeping one another consistently updated, biomedical and IT departments may be able to prevent these kinds of errors.

What can I do when a doctor is responsible for my suffering?

All medical professionals in the United States have the legal duty to act with competence and in the best interests of their patients at all times. This means that as long as the medical provider is taking the best possible action according to the specific situation, they will likely not be held accountable, even if mistakes and errors occur.

This is why many patients who have been through extended suffering wonder whether they will be able to successfully make a medical malpractice claim against their medical provider. If you are wondering the same thing, it is important to take the time to understand the laws in Illinois. Doing so will help to verify the likelihood of your case being successful.

Operation Safe Driver Week to crack down on speeding

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance cracks down on unsafe driving through Operation Safe Driver Week, a period of increased traffic law enforcement. Truck and passenger car motorists in Illinois will be affected. If stopped, they may be issued a warning or a citation.

Last year's numbers can provide a good indication of what the 2019 event will be like. The 2018 Operation Safe Driver Week involved 51,000 law enforcement officials across North America who stopped a total of 113,331 drivers, issued 57,405 citations and gave 87,907 warnings. A good portion of the citations (16,909 to passenger vehicle drivers and 1,908 to CMV drivers) were for speeding.

Fatal car crash risk goes up even in light rain

The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society has published the results of a study that shows how even light rain can raise the risk of a fatal car crash. Illinois residents should know that this study uses precise data that previous studies of weather-related crashes did not.

In general, the study found that rain, snow and ice raise the risk of a deadly car crash by 34%. Moderate rain makes it 75% more likely while heavy rain makes it two and a half times more likely. Even light rain was found to increase fatal car crash risk by 27%.

Illinois Patients' Medical Conditions Could Be Misdiagnosed

The failure of mental health practitioners to get a second opinion from a psychiatric specialist or clinic often leads to overdiagnosis, according to a new study performed at John Hopkins University. The study included more than 75 cases that had been referred to the Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic between February 2011 and July 2017. In each of those cases, the patient had been diagnosed with schizophrenia by a non-specialty physician.

When researchers took a fresh look at those 75 cases, they discovered that the majority of patients who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia actually suffered from anxiety. Although there are five symptoms used to diagnose schizophrenia, mental health practitioners typically placed greater emphasis on one or two symptoms to form their diagnosis. One of the more commonly relied-upon symptoms was auditory hallucinations, otherwise known as hearing voices. However, experts say that hearing voices is associated with many other conditions and doesn't necessarily indicate schizophrenia.

Car manufacturer aims to stop drunk drivers

One automaker is emphasizing an unusual selling point for its future autonomous technology: the ability to stop drunk drivers. Despite widespread public awareness campaigns and intensified law enforcement activity against driving under the influence, drunk driving continues to pose a major threat on Illinois highways. In 2017 alone, 10,874 people were killed due to drunk drivers, says the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Thousands more were injured, often severely.

Volvo Cars is announcing that it will begin installing a system in its vehicles in the early 2020s that will take action to put a stop to drunk driving. New Volvos will include cameras and sensors that monitor driver behavior for signs of drunkenness or excessive distraction. According to the automaker, this system is designed to prevent deadly or dangerous car accidents before they take place. It would check the driver for signs of intoxication, including closed eyes for an extended period of time or failing to provide any input at the steering wheel.

Study finds many MS patients misdiagnosed

A significant portion of new multiple sclerosis patients in Illinois and elsewhere could have been misdiagnosed, according to a recent study. The study was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Vermont analyzed 241 new MS patient referrals sent to MS specialists at Cedars-Sinai and UCLA from physicians at other facilities. They found that 17% of patients referred to Cedars-Sinai and 19% of those referred to UCLA had been misdiagnosed. Of the patients who were misdiagnosed, 16% were actually suffering from migraines, 9% were suffering from radiologically isolated syndrome, meaning that their brain MRI scans resembled those of MS patients, 7% were suffering from a vertebrae disorder known as spondylopathy and 7% were suffering from neuropathy, or nerve damage.

When is the failure to diagnose preeclampsia medical malpractice?

Pregnancy should be one of the most joyful times of your life. But pregnancy can bring much uncertainty and worry in the form of medical issues and complications. By speaking to your medical provider about the symptoms you are experiencing and the concerns that you have, you should be able to get a swift diagnosis and the appropriate treatment to keep you and your baby healthy.

However, unfortunately, many medical conditions associated with pregnancy worsen because of a failure to diagnose. One condition that is commonly undiagnosed for a significant period of time is preeclampsia. If you suffered from preeclampsia during your pregnancy and your doctor failed to diagnose you, it is likely that this failure put the health of you and your child at risk.

NSC survey shows driver distraction puts first responders at risk

The National Safety Council and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute conducted a survey to find out just how much of a danger distracted driving can be to first responders. In the first four months of 2019 alone, 16 first responders have been struck and killed by vehicles while helping others. Illinois residents should know that 16 percent of the survey respondents admitted to hitting or almost hitting a first responder or emergency vehicle.

Seventy-one percent of the respondents said they take photos or videos of emergency vehicles, even when those vehicles are doing nothing more than making a routine traffic stop. Sixty percent post about it on social media, while 66 percent send an email about it.

CVSA 72-hour roadcheck scheduled for June

From June 4 to 6, 2019, inspectors with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be stopping CMV drivers in Illinois and across the U.S. as part of the International Roadcheck. This annual inspection spree will consist mostly of Level I inspections, which are the most comprehensive and check for both driver and vehicle compliance.

The focus of the 2019 roadcheck will be on steering and suspension. These support the heavy load of trucks, buses and other CMVs and help maintain stability when drivers accelerate and brake. They can also keep the tires in alignment, which reduces the risk for uneven wear and, with it, tire failure.