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February 2011 Archives

Doctors Suggest Surgical Biopsies Far Too Often

When a patient is told that he or she has an abnormality present in the breast, it's common that the doctor may recommend a surgical biopsy to test the lump to determine whether it's breast cancer. While this may be necessary in some cases, researchers say that a surgical biopsy should only be done in about 10 percent of cases. The other 90 percent should undergo a needle biopsy, which is a much less invasive procedure.

New study articulates susceptibility of breast cancer survivors

Results of a breast cancer screening study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that mammograms are less accurate in detecting breast cancer if the woman being screened has had breast cancer in the past. This is concerning, as breast cancer survivors are more likely to grow additional tumors than women who have never been diagnosed with the disease.The study is based on information from the largest mammography registry in the United States, which shows that mammograms have an 11 percent greater likelihood of missing a tumor in a woman who has already been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past. This same group of women is also 1 percent more likely to receive a false-positive diagnosis for breast cancer than woman who never have had a confirmed tumor.

Study: Woman with early ovarian cancer not undergoing recommended biopsies

According to recent medical news, more than a quarter of woman with diagnosed early-stage ovarian cancer are not receiving recommended lymph node biopsies to check for the spread of cancer. Experts believe that by not performing these recommended procedures, cancer patients double their risk of death, according to U.S. researchers. "A team at the University of California Davis Cancer Center and California Cancer Registry analyzed the medical records and cancer registry data of 721 presumed early-stage ovarian cancer patients in California and New York and found that only 72 percent had lymph nodes from the pelvis and abdomen tested for signs of cancer spread."

Jury Awards $244K in Methadone Medical Malpractice Case

According to recent medical reports, a jury in Maine has awarded a Portland woman $244,000 in damages from a methadone clinic that she claims repeatedly gave her high doses of methadone. Reports detail that the woman filed a civil lawsuit against a doctor for allegedly giving her "her high doses of methadone although she had overdosed several times and other doctors had warned the clinic to lower her prescription." According to various sources, Methadone is a "synthetic drug that's prescribed to wean addicts off heroin, OxyContin, Dilaudid and other opiates."

Like-Sounding Medications Account for Many Prescription Painkiller Errors

According to recent medical reports, confusion caused by "look-alike and sound-alike" prescription drugs is contributing to a large number of painkiller prescription errors in U.S. hospitals. A new study found that the "drug error rate was nearly three per 1,000 prescriptions in hospitals, and error rates were higher when prescribing for children."

Trial Lawyers Warn of Safety Risks in Medical Malpractice Reform Bill

Following the Jan. 19th vote to repeal the national health reform law, House Republicans introduced a new piece of medical liability reform legislation that would cap medical malpractice damage awards for those injured. According to reports, "The Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Health Care Act of 2011 would limit noneconomic damages to $250,000, and punitive damages to the greater of $250,000 or twice the amount of economic damages." Despite the American Medical Association and 100 other medical organizations support of this bill, not everyone is convinced that this bill will be good for the general public.

Study: Medical "Best Practice" Often Based on Opinion

According to a recent U.S. study, "even when following medical guidelines to the letter, doctors often use treatments that have little or no scientific support." These findings could be placing many patients at risk for injury and putting hospitals and doctors at risk for medical malpractice suits. Authors of the study found that "only one in seven treatment recommendations from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) -- a society representing healthcare providers and researchers across the country -- were based on high-quality data from clinical trials." Comparatively, more than half of the recommendations relied solely on expert opinion or anecdotal evidence.

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