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Lawton Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Doctors don't always have the answers

When Oklahoma residents go to the doctor, they believe that the health care professional will accurately diagnose their medical ailments. However, this is not necessarily the case. Diagnostic errors happen more often than people may believe, and they are also the most harmful types of errors. A diagnostic mistake takes place when a doctor either misses a diagnosis or doesn't make it in a timely manner.

The reason why doctors don't like to admit when they have made a mistake is because it may reduce their confidence. Part of being a doctor is not thinking that a patient could ever be harmed while under that person's care. Some believe that the number of diagnostic errors could increase as medicine becomes more complicated over time. They may also increase as doctors start to take on large caseloads. Artificial intelligence may help doctors keep up in a faster paced environment.

The misdiagnosis of type 3c diabetes

Oklahoma residents with a certain type of diabetes may have been misdiagnosed by their physicians. Type 1 and type 2diabetes mellitus are the two most commonly known types. However, there is a third type of diabetes, type 3c, that some physicians believe is being routinely misdiagnosed.

Type 3c diabetes results from an impaired pancreas. The results of one study has indicated that there is a high likelihood that physicians are misdiagnosing type 3c diabetes for type 2 diabetes. This is concerning because different forms of treatment are needed for each. Type 3c diabetes cases that are misdiagnosed can result in a waste of money and time spent on unnecessary and inaccurate treatments, all while the patient is still suffering from high blood sugar levels.

NHTSA calls for review of autonomous vehicle regulations

Traffic accident deaths in Oklahoma and around the country have been on the rise, but a growing number of lawmakers and road safety advocacy groups believe that autonomous vehicles may one day solve the problem. The goal of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Road to Zero campaign, which was launched in October 2016, is to eliminate road deaths entirely during the next three decades, and both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Congress have taken action to ease the regulatory burden on companies involved in the development of self-driving cars.

The NHTSA said in a report released on Oct. 27 that it plans to tackle regulations that could delay the introduction of vehicles that have the potential to save thousands of lives each year, and the agency says that it is particularly interested in addressing rules that could stymie the development of fully autonomous vehicles. Most automobile safety regulations were written based on the assumption that human drivers would be involved, and companies like Google, Ford and General Motors say that these rules make it very difficult to get cars with no driver controls at all approved for use on public roads.

Trucker safety impacted by multiple health conditions

Trucking companies in Oklahoma and the rest of the U.S. should know about a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which analyzed the medical and crash records of 49,464 commercial truck drivers and found a link between increased crash risk and the presence of certain health conditions. Investigators flagged 34 percent of the drivers as having a condition that may have contributed to their poor driving performance in the past.

The study estimated that for every 100 million miles driven, there were 29 crashes resulting in injuries. Drivers with three or more medical conditions had an average of 93 crashes per 100 million miles. Of those, 82 drivers were placed in the highest risk group and should have been pulled from service by their employers.

Report shows racial disparity in breast cancer survival rate

A report from the American Cancer Society revealed that breast cancer deaths fell 39 percent between 1989 and 2015 thanks to advances in medicine and early detection methods. At the same time, the organization expressed concern over another trend affecting Oklahoma and the rest of the country: an increase in the proportion of African-American women who die from breast cancer compared to women of other races. According to reports from 2015, black women have a 39 percent less chance of surviving than white women do.

Several factors have been suggested. Though education is no longer an issue and black women are actually more likely to get mammograms than white women, poverty prevents many from obtaining proper health care. Black women have limited access to preventive care and to drugs like Tamoxifen. Discrimination at health care facilities may be another factor.

Legislators seek to revive sleep apnea rule

After a possible rule on obstructive sleep apnea testing criteria for referral for truck drivers was tabled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, legislators in both the House and the Senate have introduced bills to push the FMCSA to establish the rule and administer it in Oklahoma and around the country. The lack of clear criteria has led to confusion about what criteria to use and concern over sleep apnea testing and treatment companies as well as doctors taking advantage of the uncertainty to make money.

Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to drowsy and distracted driving. Distracted driving is a factor in many truck accidents that result in injuries that can sometimes be fatal. Sleep apnea testing is one attempt to help prevent such accidents. However, there are currently a few sets of criteria available and doctors use one of these sets to determine if a driver should be referred for sleep apnea testing and treatment. Some drivers feel that they did not deserve referrals. A formal rule would determine what criteria should be used for referral and what type of treatment should be followed, providing clarity for the industry.

About tongue cancer

Oklahoma residents may be interested to know that tongue cancer is an oral cancer that could be misdiagnosed by a physician. It is found in the squamous cells on the surface of the front two-thirds portion of the tongue. Cancer that is present in the remaining one third of the tongue falls under the category of head and neck cancer.

Tongue cancer shares many symptoms with other forms of oral cancer. The condition can be misdiagnosed as a persistent cold or mouth sore. Continuous pain in the jaw or tongue, the inability to chew or swallow easily, difficulty with tongue or jaw movement and a lump in the mouth are just some of the symptoms associated with tongue cancer.

Crash safety and the size of a vehicle

Oklahoma drivers may be interested to know that the size of their vehicle plays an important role in traffic accidents. Larger vehicles typically endure accidents better small cars, particularly if the accident is a collision between large and small vehicles.

In the evaluation of a vehicle's safety, size and weight are included in the testing criteria along with material and structural strength. These factors are used to determine a vehicle's crashworthiness, regardless of how technologically up-to date the vehicle may or may not be.

Drivers lament the bad habits of others

Progressive Insurance recently released the results of a survey in which over 90 percent of respondents said that distracted driving should be made illegal. Overall, 65 percent of those who responded to the survey felt that texting or looking at a phone was a major cause of traffic accidents in Oklahoma and throughout the country. However, over a third of respondents also said that they felt they could safely text while driving.

Among respondents between the ages of 18 and 34, 62 percent said that they were confident that they could still drive while texting. Only 6 percent of those 55 or older shared that view. Men were more likely than women to believe that they could text while driving. However, both genders overwhelmingly agreed that distracted driving should not be allowed.

Court holds that disclosures without consent are malpractice

Medical malpractice in Oklahoma may take many forms, including disclosing confidential medical information about a patient without his or her consent. In a case in New Jersey, the court looked at whether or not the disclosure of confidential medical information to a third party by a doctor without a patient's consent was medical malpractice.

In the case, a man who was HIV-positive was receiving treatment for kidney failure from a nephrologist. The doctor disclosed the man's HIV-status to a third party who was in the room without the patient's consent. The man originally filed a lawsuit claiming that the doctor violated HIPAA, but he amended his complaint because there isn't a private cause of action under HIPAA.

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