THE RISKS OF MODERN ANESTHESIA REDUCED DUE TO PULSE OXIMETER

As many people realize, undergoing surgery with anesthesia can be a truly dangerous event. However, modern medicine has come a long way to eradicate much of the previous danger. All too commonly a patient would be on the operating table and the first warning of impending disaster was the doctors and nurses realizing that the patient had turned blue, indicating a serious lack of oxygen. They then had only seconds to react before the patient’s heart would stop, and the chances of the patient’s surviving were slim.

Then the pulse oximeter came into use. A small sensor was invented that could easily be attached to the patient’s finger or toe that could measure how many red blood cells were actually carrying oxygen by sensing a certain wavelength of light and then a computer could translate that into a percentage. The pulse oximeter reading will start to drop minutes before the patient turns blue. Thereby, becoming the early-warning system allowing the anesthesiologist to react quicker and saving tens of thousands of lives in the last few decades.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/02/pulse-oximeter/516510/

As with most lifesaving inventions, they are only as good as the practitioners using them. Patients can still get into trouble with anesthesia when the heath care provider is not paying attention. Frank Rodriguez, partner in the JW Medical Malpractice group, advises that “Inappropriate things can be done, like the alarms on the pulse oximeter and other monitors being turned off or turned down, lifesaving medications not being immediately available next to the anesthesiologist for immediate use, lifesaving equipment not being available for immediate use, and the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist leaving the room while the surgery is going on and hence leaving the patient unmonitored.”

Similarly, once the patient gets out of surgery, they go to a recovery room, often called a post-anesthesia care unit, where they should be carefully monitored for signs that their circulation and respiration is being compromised. If this monitoring isn’t done carefully, the patient can once again stop breathing and lose their life.

http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/malpractice-report-2015/anesthesiology#page=4

If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of problems with anesthesia, please contact the medical malpractice team at Javerbaum Wurgaft. Our firm has been representing injury victims for more than 50 years, we are here to help.

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PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST HIT AND RUN AND UNINSURED DRIVERS

In 2015, there were more than 262,000 auto collisions in the state of New Jersey. Over 60,000 of those wrecks resulted in people sustaining injury.  http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/refdata/accident/pdf/njcrash.pdf   Although many New Jersey consumers are excellent drivers with no prior collisions, safe driving is not enough to protect themselves against the negligence of another drive

If you sustain damages as a result of an accident, it is important to protect yourself against negligent drivers with little or no insurance coverage. Without the proper insurance coverage, you may find yourself with no recourse to receive compensation for any loss you sustain. Imagine being struck by a driver that flees the scene or just as bad violates the law with no automobile insurance. Just as devastating is being struck by a driver that has limited insurance ($15,000 minimum) or policies that possess NO coverage for injuries caused by that driver.

If any of these circumstances ever occur, it is important that you have adequate insurance coverage to protect your interests.  Most standard insurance policies in New Jersey have Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage which covers you if you sustain damages as a result of a driver with little or no insurance.  This coverage is just as important as your liability coverage, which protects you if you cause an accident.  The amount of coverage for UM/UIM coverage should always match the amount of coverage you select for your liability coverage.

According to Jeff Rizika, partner in the personal injury department of Javerbaum Wurgaft, “Never select less than your liability coverage as the difference in cost is very little but the potential benefit is great. It is recommended that you maintain at least $100,000 of UM/UIM coverage on your auto policy.”

www.javerbaumwurgaft.com/jeffrey-a-rizika/

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, or have a question about your auto insurance coverage, please contact the lawyers in the personal injury department at Javerbaum, Wurgaft. We are here to help. www.javerbaumwurgaft.com/personal-injury

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OVERPRESCRIBING PAIN MEDICATIONS: A VIOLATION OF THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH

Nearly everyone knows someone affected by opioid addiction. The Center for Disease Control has called the opioid epidemic one the most pressing public health issues in the United States today. “Last year, more Americans died from drug overdoses than car crashes.”  https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/t0315-prescribing-opioids-guidelines.html

Opioids are natural or synthetic chemicals that reduce feelings of pain. Common prescription opioid pain relievers include:

Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

Oxycodone (OxyContin)

Oxymorphone (Opana)

Methadone

Fentanyl

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prescribing/patients.html

Prescription opioids are often used effectively to manage post operative surgical pain on a short term basis. They can also relieve the suffering in patients with chronic pain syndrome whose pain cannot be adequately managed with conservative methods, or who have cancer or other end of life conditions. When prescribed for long periods of time opioids carry serious side effects in that they are highly addictive and increase the risk for unintentional overdose and death.

The unfortunate reality is that opioid addiction is often caused by doctors who prescribe hundreds of pills without justification for the sole purpose of making money. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the opioid epidemic is “doctor driven.” https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/t0315-prescribing-opioids-guidelines.html

Officials are targeting doctors who liberally hand out pain medication prescriptions without justification. In California, a physician sold Xanax and oxycodone to a college student from her office in a strip mall in Los Angeles, who died after mixing the drugs with alcohol. The Doctor was sentenced to 30 years to life for the overdose deaths by three patients, including the  20 year old college student. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-doctor-murder-overdose-drugs-sentencing-20160205-story.html

There are legitimate Board Certified Pain Management Specialists who carefully evaluate patients and weigh the risks and benefits of prescribing opioid medications before doing so. On the flip side however, there are many doctors whose specialty is not pain management who freely prescribe pain medications so as to keep their patients coming back for more.

 

According to Christina Ctorides, partner in the medical malpractice department of Javerbaum Wurgaft https://www.javerbaumwurgaft.com/christina-ctorides/ the public should be mindful of the following:

  1. If you or a family member needs long term pain medications for a chronic medical condition seek help from a Board Certified Pain Management Doctor.
  2. Do not seek or accept treatment from a doctor who does limited examinations and who works mostly for cash payments.
  3. Exhaust all other methods of pain relief before accepting a prescription for opioids. (Physical therapy, exercise, nerve blocks, stimulators)
  4. Do not accept a prescription for pain medications from a doctor who does not fully explain the significant risks associated with the long term use of opioids.
  5. There is no evidence to show that opioids can control chronic pain effectively over the long term.
  6. When patients receive narcotics for long periods, they can become more sensitive to pain, a condition called hyperalgesia. (J. David Haddox, the vice president of health policy at Purdue Pharma – the manufacturer of OxyContin – acknowledged “opioid analgesics have sometimes been associated with diminished pain relief in the face of increasing doses.”) http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/who-is-responsible-for-the-pain-pill-epidemic

When doctors unnecessarily prescribe narcotic pain medications solely for financial gain, not only do they commit medical malpractice, but they also violate the Hippocratic Oath which says “First, do no harm.” If you, or a loved one has become addicted to pain medications because of a negligent doctor, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at Javerbaum Wurgaft, we are here to help.

https://www.javerbaumwurgaft.com/medical-malpractice/

 

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HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION ENDANGERS DRIVERS, PEDESTRIANS AND BICYCLISTS

New Jersey highways and crosswalks are filled with cars, pedestrians and recreational bicyclists lawfully using the roadways who have the right to expect that these roadways will be safe for travel.  At the same time almost anywhere that you look there is construction going on to repair potholes, upgrade underground utilities and perform general roadway maintenance.  These activities present potential serious dangers to the public if proper precautions are not taken.

http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2017/01/family_of_pedestrian_killed_on_route_22_seeking_an.htm

While we applaud maintenance and desperately needed improvements to our infrastructure, it is the obligation of the State and local government, together with contractors and their employees to provide proper and adequate warnings of the work being performed, both during the day and especially at night.  Lights, barriers, and warning signs are mandatory.  Excavation must be properly and securely covered so that the public is not confronted with a potentially life threatening condition.  See www.nj.gov/transportation/about/safety to learn about the State requirements for traffic Safety.

If you or a loved one have been injured as the result of highway construction or defects in the roadway, please contact us at www.javerbaumwurgaft.com.  Our firm has been representing  injury victims for more than 50 years, we are here to help.