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Study finds AMD is often not diagnosed in early stages

Older people in Pennsylvania and around the country may not be properly diagnosed in the early stages of age-related macular degeneration. AMD is a serious problem for people ages 50 and older and is the main cause of vision loss in that age group. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama,one-quarter of the patients in the study who had been told they had normal vision were actually suffering from AMD.

The study examined a total of 644 patients with an average age of 69. An ophthalmologist or optometrist had examined all of them with a dilated eye exam. No advanced cases of AMD were missed, but even though there is no cure for the condition, it is treatable and its progress can be slowed. According to the study, around 30 percent of the people who were not diagnosed would have benefited from treatment with vitamin and mineral supplements. This is the typical treatment for AMD along with injected medications in more severe cases.

Wheel spikes on trucks could be dangerous for others

In some cases, Pennsylvania drivers may feel uneasy on the roadways when they see semi-trucks with spike-like lug nut covers on the trucks' wheels. These ornamental spikes often extend well beyond the rims of the wheels, making some drivers nervous that they may damage their vehicles if they pass the truck too closely. Because there is some concern that these ornamental spikes can be dangerous, one state even passed legislation to ban them.

Part of why these ornamental spikes may be considered dangerous is because about 50 percent of bicyclists and 25 percent of pedestrians who die in large truck accidents are struck by the side of the truck. Side impacts can become even more dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians if the trucks have large wheel spike ornaments. These motorists may also be distracting or even intimidating to other drivers. In fact, the plaintiff in a Louisiana large truck accident case in 2012 made special note that the truck had ornamental spikes.

Nursing care can help to avoid medical errors

Nurses can play a major role in ensuring patients receive quality care, whether in a Pennsylvania surgical procedure or a regular primary care physician's office. Experienced nurses can help to provide an additional level of security and knowledge to assist a patient and a doctor or surgeon in providing care through their knowledge of specific patients and their medical concerns.

Because every patient who enters a medical facility has individual concerns, issues and problems, having multiple voices paying close attention to their medical care can help to achieve greater outcomes. It can also help to avoid surgical accidents and doctor errors that can have long-lasting, negative impacts on patient outcomes.

Overweight people prone to receiving substandard medical care

Researchers have discovered that overweight people sometimes experience negative outcomes when they seek medical care. Prejudice against heavy people, known as fat shaming in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, leads physicians to attribute some symptoms to weight instead of investigating other possible medical reasons. One of the psychology professors who reviewed research on the subject went so far as to call the unfair treatment malpractice.

She based her statement on the results of 46 studies that investigated biases held by physicians toward obese people. Patients reported that being made to feel ashamed of their weight lowered their trust in the medical provider. The shame inflicted on people when they seek medical care often affected their mental health and caused them to delay asking for care.

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.