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Program lowers medication errors

Pennsylvania patients might benefit from a medication safety program that lowers the occurrence of mistakes in the administration of medicine. The program, which was implemented at Boston Children's Hospital to assess and react to medication errors, produced substantial improvements. Researchers at the hospital examined drug administration errors that occurred from 2008 through 2016. The data was retrieved from manually reviewing charts and from compulsory error reports that were included in anesthesia records. The medication errors were categorized by their severity, type and the frequency by which they occurred. Also examined by the research term were the reasons the errors occurred. They then created a tailored program to reduce the errors.

Nearly 290,000 cases were assessed. Of the 105 medication errors that were detected, 55.2 percent were incorrect doses, and 27.6 percent were wrong medications. There was an annual reduction of medication error rates at the hospital after the medication safety program was started. There are presently 35 clinicians on the committee for the Perioperative Systems Improvement Program. For each event, three anesthesiologists conduct reviews that involve examining medical records and conducting interview of involved parties. The committee will then recommend ways to improve the administering of medicine.

Early-stage prostate surgery may not benefit patients

When Pennsylvania men are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, surgery may be one of the treatment options they may have available. However, the results of a 20-year study shows that surgery does not offer major benefits to those who are in the early stage of the disease. In fact, the surgery often results in serious medical complications, including urinary incontinence and infection.

The study found that of the men who had the prostate cancer surgery, 61 percent died due to other causes while 66 percent of those who did not have the surgery died. This number was not significantly different. Approximately 70 percent of men who are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer are found to be in the early stages. This means that the cancer has not progressed beyond the prostate gland and the tumors are non-aggressive. These patients generally have a positive prognosis even if they do get the prostate surgery.

The importance of properly diagnosing ovarian cancer

Pennsylvania women turning to their doctors rightly expect to receive the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on prevention and early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. According to the medical director of integrative gynecologic oncology at Providence Saint John's Health Center, however, several early warning signs often result in misdiagnosis and failure to treat the cancer. Poor understanding of risk factors and prevention may also compound the risk of doctor error.

One reason for failure to diagnose early-stage ovarian cancer is that the symptoms tend to look like more common problems, such as menstrual or gastrointestinal issues. When doctors do not track risk factors and request tests after seeing these symptoms, women can lose treatment options and suffer far worse outcomes.

CDC report warns about misdiagnosed Lyme disease cases

Pennsylvania is expected to lead the nation in Lyme disease cases again in 2017, and black-legged ticks can now be found in every county in the state. However, a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the misdiagnosis of Lyme disease is becoming more common. According to the CDC, doctors around the country often diagnose Lyme disease when patients present ambiguous symptoms such as localized pain and excessive fatigue. In true Lyme disease cases, typical symptoms include a bullseye-shaped skin rash, fever and frequent headaches.

The problem is a serious one because patients misdiagnosed with Lyme disease are often subjected to courses of antibiotic treatments that can last for months or even years. Prolonged exposure to intravenous antibiotics can cause serious harm, and the CDC report on Lyme disease misdiagnosis reveals that some patients treated in this way have died after going into septic shock.

Causes, symptoms and treatment of lung collapse

In a lung collapse, air leaks from the lung into the area between the chest wall and the lung. People in Pennsylvania who suffer from a collapsed lung might experience chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, fatigue, low blood pressure and shortness of breath. A collapsed lung may be mild or serious, but it should always be responded to as though it is a medical emergency because it could be fatal.

A small lung collapse may not require treatment although a doctor will monitor it. The person might be required to rest and may be given oxygen. The collapse might also be monitored through X-rays. For a more serious collapse, it may be necessary to remove air from the lung. This might be done with a needle or syringe or with a chest tube. Surgery might be necessary if an air bleb or an air leak caused the collapse. If a lung collapse is treated in time, it is unlikely to lead to complications later.

Automatic drill could make surgery safer

Surgical patients in Pennsylvania hospitals may one day be able to benefit from technology developed at the University of Utah. Researchers there have invented a drill that works 50 times faster than humans, and it offers improved accuracy. The drill has been used to perform a translabyrinthine procedure, which involves an acoustic nerve near the ear. While the procedure is fairly common, it is also challenging for surgeons.

This is because surgeons need to be careful not to hit facial nerves or hit the venous sinus. Therefore, it made for a useful proof of concept for the new technology. For now, the drill will be used mostly on cranial procedures that currently require surgeons to drill holes by hand. The drill works by mapping out the patient's brain ahead of time and creating a path for the tool to follow during surgery.

Early detection critical to beating deadly melanoma

Many Pennsylvania residents are diagnosed each year with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and as the days get longer and people engage in outdoor activities, it is important to pay attention to sun protection and skin care.

Melanoma is the most common form of cancer experienced by women in their 20s and 30s, although the risk of melanoma grows with age. While only around 1 percent of skin cancers are melanoma, it causes a significant majority of deaths due to skin cancer.

Improvements in diagnosing diabetes patients

When Pennsylvania residents have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, there are several medical conditions that they may be more susceptible to than the average person. In particular, people with these types of diabetes may end up developing end-stage renal disease or chronic kidney disease. These are serious medical conditions, and diagnosing them in a timely manner is an important part of keeping kidneys functioning properly.

Due to the fact that the standard methods of determining if a diabetes sufferer might have either kidney condition left room for improvement, doctors started looking for methods other than a person's albumin to creatinine ratio or estimated glomerular filtration rate to diagnose kidney issues. In 2012, two doctors determined that weakening renal function appeared to correlate with a the tumor necrosis factor receptor.

Common problems with diagnosing lupus

Lupus is a disease where the body's immune system attacks a person's tissues, and it is considered to be a chronic inflammatory disease. This disease is frequently misdiagnosed as other conditions, and one reason for this is because there is no definitive test that confirms that a person has lupus. When Pennsylvania doctors determine if patients have lupus, they will look at the symptoms and attempt to rule out other medical conditions.

Along with the fact that there is no definitive way to determine if someone has lupus through a test, this condition is difficult to diagnose because people's symptoms may come and go. Further, lupus has many of the same symptoms as a number of other common medical conditions.

Skilled workers more prone to errors when interrupted

Highly skilled workers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are more prone to make mistakes when interrupted than less skilled ones, according to research. A study on the subject, which was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, was conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and funded by the Office of Naval Research.

According to the study, experienced workers typically complete procedural tasks at a faster rate than less experienced workers. This means that their actions are more closely spaced together and potentially more confusable if interrupted. For example, if experienced nurses are interrupted while preparing to administer a dose of medication, it may be more difficult for them to later remember if the dose was actually administered. Meanwhile, a less experienced nurse may work more slowly and have an easier time remembering.