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Why patients should avoid hospitals in the afternoon

Pennsylvania residents who have to go to the hospital may want to avoid going in the afternoon hours. This is because there is a chance that a shift change could happen in the middle of a procedure. Most operating room nurses, surgical technicians and anesthesiologists work from about 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. If the outgoing team doesn't communicate properly with the incoming team, it can lead to mistakes.

As a general rule, anesthesiologists make more mistakes in the afternoon as opposed to the morning hours. According to research from Duke University, they found that there was a 1 percent chance of a mistake happening. The odds of a mistake taking place increased to 4.2 percent at 4 p.m. In addition to mistakes in the operating room, doctors may be more prone to prescribing antibiotics in the afternoon as opposed to earlier in the day.

Doctor burnout can lead to medical mistakes

More than 50 percent of doctors around the country are suffering from workplace burnout, according to a study. Unfortunately, this means that Pennsylvania physicians are also more likely to commit medical errors.

For the study, which was published on the Mayo Clinic Proceedings website on July 9, researchers surveyed almost 6,700 doctors about issues like workplace safety, medical errors and the symptoms of job-related burnout. They found that 11 percent of respondents admitted they had made a significant medical error in the previous 90 days. They also found that doctors who were suffering from workplace burnout were twice as likely to have made a medical mistake than those who had no burnout symptoms. The symptoms of burnout can include emotional exhaustion, depression, cynicism and suicidal thoughts.

Workers' compensation benefits might not be your only option

If you are a member of the Pennsylvania workforce, you might find comfort in knowing that the state's workers' compensation insurance program will provide financial assistance if you should suffer a work-related injury. This is a no-fault system that provides coverage regardless of who was at fault. This means that you can claim benefits even if your own negligence caused your injury.

The aim is to avoid injured workers suing their employers. However, your employer must comply with federal and state safety regulations, which the Occupational Safety and Health Administration governs.

Report analyzes misdiagnoses of Gaucher disease and PMF

Pennsylvania residents may want to know that there are two medical conditions that are often mistaken for each other. Gaucher disease is an inherited disorder stemming from the body's lack of an enzyme called glucocerebrosidase. As the enzyme is required to break down certain fats, the disease results in fatty material building up in the liver, brain and bone marrow.

This disorder can be misdiagnosed as primary myelofibrosis, a blood cancer that forms scar tissue in the bone marrow and also affects the liver. The fact that the two share similar symptoms influences the rate of misdiagnosis. The journal Acta Haematologica has published a report which describes one case of misdiagnosis.

Car accidents spike on Fourth of July

Every year, millions of Americans take to the roads to celebrate the nation's independence. On average, individuals and families travel around 50 miles to spend time at parks, lakes, beaches and the homes of friends and family. Unfortunately, this results in an unusually high amount of automobile accidents. Thousands of people get injured during the weekend, and hundreds of injuries result in fatalities. This makes the Fourth of July weekend one of the most dangerous of the year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association estimates that nearly 40 million vehicles will be on the roadways this July 4. Data from 2008 to 2017 shows that more than 125 vehicle fatalities occur on the holiday itself per year, and more than a hundred also occur on July 5. While accidents also occur from fireworks and other recreational activities, driving remains the most dangerous.

Genetic testing could help avoid unnecessary chemo

Some Pennsylvania women with breast cancer may find relief from the rigors of treatment: A recent study shows that many women may not need chemotherapy to prevent a cancer recurrence. According to the study presented to the American Society of Oncology, around 70 percent of women diagnosed with a common type of early-stage breast cancer may not receive additional benefits from receiving chemotherapy as part of their treatment.

The study emphasized the importance of using a 21-gene expression test, which evaluates women for the presence of certain genes that could predispose them to a recurrence of breast cancer in the future. If the test indicates that a woman is unlikely to receive a benefit from chemotherapy, she can be spared the time, expense and physical side effects of chemotherapeutic treatment. Physicians said that chemotherapy can carry significant side effects for many women.

Patient ID errors in electronic records create medical mistakes

Since the HITECH Act started requiring health care providers to use electronic health records, challenges have arisen with assigning unique identifiers to patients. Without a standard system to identify patients, the sharing of electronic records among medical offices and hospitals in Pennsylvania does not always succeed. Patients might get matched with the wrong records. This could lead to lost diagnoses, wrong-site surgeries or inaccurate medication orders.

This issue prompted a group of industry stakeholders, including the American Medical Association and American Health Information Management Association, to write a letter to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The letter urged the committees to direct the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a standard approach for making unique health identifiers for people.

A complex bone break may need surgery to repair

Broken bones are tricky injuries to address. They can range in severity from hairline fractures to compound or open fractures, and depending on where the break occurs, repair could prove difficult. If you suffer a broken bone that does not heal properly, you could find yourself having to contend with lasting damage and possible limitations when it comes to movement and use of the damaged area.

Despite the potential severity of broken bones, they are not uncommon injuries. Numerous activities that individuals willingly participate in could lead to such outcomes, but other events, such as car accidents, could also lead to serious injuries. If you suffer a complex bone break in such an accident, you may need bone fracture repair.

Mitochondrial patients face "diagnostic odyssey," study says

Mitochondria are found in all cells except the red blood cells, so mitochondrial diseases can affect almost any area of the body. Since their most common symptoms include weakness and fatigue, it is, unfortunately, natural that the diseases are often misdiagnosed. Residents of Pennsylvania should know about a recent report published in Neurology Genetics that describes the "diagnostic odyssey" of many mitochondrial patients.

After surveying 210 patients with self-reported mitochondrial disease through the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, researchers found that an average of eight different physicians are consulted before a diagnosis. Approximately 55 percent of patients claimed that the initial diagnosis wasn't correct, and 32 percent reported being misdiagnosed more than once. Nearly 57 percent initially saw their primary care physicians, most of whom may be unfamiliar with mitochondrial diseases.

Judge denies stay for medical malpractice case

A Pennsylvania judge denied a motion to delay depositions in a highly publicized medical malpractice trial. Attorneys for the hospital involved in the case sought a delay to allow for legal wrangling over two amended complaints, and the judge disagreed.

According to the defense attorneys, the additional filing by the plaintiff has left it unclear how many defendants there are in the case. They believe this issue was compounded due to the fact the second amended complaint was not finalized before the third complaint was filed. Plaintiffs disagreed, arguing the parties involved in the suit were clear and that there was no reason to delay the proceedings. The judge sided with the plaintiff in denying the motion.

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