Se Habla Español

Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Specializing In You

Our clients are at the heart of what we do every day. Our priority is always your best interests.

Get Help Today 920-831-0300

Appleton Personal Injury Law Blog

New COPD guidelines may lead to misdiagnosis

New research indicates that new guidelines for diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, may be causing patients to be misdiagnosed in Wisconsin and worldwide. A recently-published study calls for the guidelines to be modified in order to correct the problem.

According to the authors of the study, up to 13 percent of people diagnosed with COPD, one of the most prevalent lung diseases in the world, under the new guidelines are being misdiagnosed. In 2001, the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease, or GOLD, was introduced as an alternative to a diagnostic method known as "lower limits of normal," or LLN. Researchers found there are discrepancies between the two diagnostic methods. For example, the GOLD method estimates the prevalence of COPD to be approximately 22 percent in people over the age of 40 in the United Kingdom, but the LLN method estimates that only 13 percent of people in that group have COPD. Meanwhile, the GOLD method misses one in eight cases of airflow obstruction in young women compared to the LLN method.

MRI drugs could leave toxic residue in the brain

Wisconsin patients who experienced renal failure or kidney dysfunction may be interested to learn that some drugs used when performing an MRI may leave toxins behind. Magnetic resonance imaging is a machine that may be used to obtain images of a person's soft tissues and internal body structures. To improve the quality of the images, many doctors use an intravenous drug that makes the body structures more visible.

According to a report published on June 16, however, it appeared that some of the drugs used could pass through the blood brain barrier and leave harmful residue in the person's brain. Some of the intravenous drugs include gadolinium, which happens to be toxic. Until the study was published, it was believed by medical professionals that the gadolinium was harmlessly excreted by the patient later on. Depending on the patient's heath, however, the small amount that may be left behind cause serious damage.

The human factors that lead to surgical errors

Wisconsin residents may be interested in the results of a study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic that looked into the causes of surgical errors. These medical mistakes are referred to as "never events" because they should never occur, and the researchers analyzed 69 such events that took place over a five-year period at the Minnesota facility. They identified 628 different human factors that may contribute to surgical errors, and an average of between four and nine of these factors were observed in each of the never events.

The surgical mistakes researchers scrutinized included performing surgery on the wrong site or side of the patient, leaving items inside the patient's body and performing the wrong procedure. Most of the never events occurred during minor surgery, and performing the wrong procedure was the most common mistake. The system used by the researchers had been earlier developed by investigators to determine the causes of military aviation accidents.

Increased education key to patient satisfaction

In an effort to avoid mistakes when preparing for surgery, it is important that patients in Wisconsin receive education regarding the medical procedures they are facing. While it might be difficult and take a bit more time to explain the situation to patients, it is a worthwhile endeavor. The results of a recent Gallup survey indicate that patients who were about to have a medical device implanted wanted to be kept apprised of important aspects of their care.

The patients who were surveyed indicated that they did not always know what to expect after the procedure. Some felt inadequately prepared for what would happen after the surgery, and that the were not always advised of the importance of following the instructions the doctors gave them for medication and rehabilitation. One key to the patients being educated is that the doctors, nurses and other medical people need to take the time to explain everything including potential negative implications.

Nondisclosure clauses keep Wisconsin patients quiet

The initial impression of a medical malpractice settlement is to recognize professional error and strive for improvements in patient care. Some research suggests, however, that the healthcare provider's reputation may be an unspoken priority as well.

According to a study in which the settlements of a Texas health system were reviewed, healthcare providers that were involved in a malpractice claim usually included some type of nondisclosure clause in the terms of the settlement with the patient. The majority of the claims examined dictated that the patient involved was not to disclose the settlement amount or other details regarding the agreement. Some agreements denied the patient the option of acknowledging the settlement at all. The researchers seem to think this indicates a general discomfort that the healthcare providers have with the public being aware of the medical error that occurred. In fact, 9 percent of the cases included the doctors and hospital in the nondisclosure clause in addition to the patient.

Wisconsin patients may not benefit from scans

A study released in 2011 has prompted Medicare to initiate coverage for some long-term smokers so that they can have a diagnostic scan performed to detect cancer. The findings of the study indicated that lung cancer-related deaths could decrease by about 20 percent with the use of a technique known as a spiral CT scan. Despite the findings, however, some doctors hesitate to perform the scans on their patients.

According to the research, approximately 150,000 people die from lung cancer annually in the United States. Supporters of the use of the spiral CT scan suggest that thousands of people suffering from the condition could benefit from the technique. Though the early identification of cancerous conditions can benefit the patient, some doctors feel that the technique may cause some patients to undergo unnecessary risks. Not all cancers advance into life-threatening conditions, and not all signs of abnormal growths indicate cancer, say some medical experts.

Attorney Stacy Schlemmer to Conduct FREE Seminar

SJS Glamour Shots Head Shot 10%.jpgAttorney Stacy Schlemmer will present a FREE seminar called "Know Your Rights as a Single Parent" in our Green Bay office. She'll discuss:

Attorney John Peterson President of ADI Board of Directors

Appleton One Great Place.jpgAttorney John Peterson was recently named President of the Board of Directors for Appleton Downtown, Inc.  ADI's mission is to make Downtown Appleton a vibrant and accessible destination for business, learning, living and leisure.

Study suggests head traumas may lead to premature brain aging

A study conducted by British researchers has added new fuel to concerns that head injuries might be the source of signs of premature aging in the brains of victims, a finding that may have implications for personal injury cases in Wisconsin. The researchers examined brain scans from 99 people who had suffered traumas arising from falls, assaults and motor vehicle accidents, including scans from periods of one month to 46 years following the traumatic events. The researchers noticed that signs of inflammation and impairment appeared in some victims many years after the initial cause of the injuries.

The researchers built a computer model by comparing the scans of brain injury victims against scans taken from individuals who were known to have healthy brains. According to the researchers, the results show that persons who have survived traumatic events show signs of premature onset of brain health issues more commonly associated with aging, including the advent of dementia. They stated that they expect the model can be used as a screening method to better identify at-risk patients and intervene sooner. Doctors would be able to confront potential cases of neurodegenerative disease and prescribe courses of treatment to prevent or delay the onset of the worst symptoms associated with them.