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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Here's What Women Should Know

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that means that television shows, magazines, and web articles will be reminding women all over the country to check for breast cancer. Every year in the U.S. more than 200,000 women find out that they have breast cancer and over 40,000 women will die from it. As a woman it is important to check for lumps at home and, once you are over the age of 50, to get a mammogram every other year.

With breast cancer rates so high most people know someone with the disease who wishes they could have known sooner. While some symptoms are obvious, some people have mild or no symptoms at all. If cancer is left unrecognized by doctors then it can start as an easily removed lump and turn to a deadly disease.

Painkillers and anti-anxiety meds are a deadly mix for many women.

Middle-aged white women are at greatest risk.

Over a 15-year span, deaths from opiate overdose have risen 400 percent among middle-aged white women in America. Most of the deaths are attributed to accidental overdose. Some are suicides fueled by addiction and side effects of drugs. The dangers are even greater for women taking painkillers in combination with anti-anxiety medications or alcohol.

In an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control, the Washington Post found an alarming increase in death rates for white women past the age of 35.

SDepressedWomanPills(2).jpgeeking relief from the symptoms of injury, menopause, arthritis, lupus and other conditions common in middle age, they are frequently prescribed opiates such as hydrocone or Vicodin. And white women are more likely than women of color to be given such prescriptions.

Doctor Admits He Lied Under Oath to Protect Colleague

"It wasn't like, I'm going to lie." It was, "I'm going to support my colleague."

This was the mindset of Dr. Lars Aanning, a retired South Dakota surgeon, when he testified at a medical malpractice trial roughly 20 years ago. At the time, he claimed he had never seen his colleague perform any work that was "substandard". While he hopes his lie did not influence the juries decision to render a verdict in favor of the defendant doctor, there is no denying that his testimony - that of another surgeon in the room at the time the alleged malpractice occurred - likely had a profound effect on the jury.

Genetic testing for breast cancer: When should it be done?

Angelina Jolie's dramatic decision in 2013 to have a preventative double mastectomy raised awareness around the world of the importance of genetic testing for cancer. She reached the decision after tests revealed the presence of a mutated gene that predisposed her to breast cancer.

Researchers responded by trying to understand the influence that Jolie's bold decision had on other women in getting tested for breast cancer, especially women with high hereditary risk. There was also research on whether having both breasts removed really is beneficial for women after a tumor is discovered in one.

The "Jolie effect" (as researchers call it) has made more women aware of genetic testing. But when should such testing be done? And are insurance companies dragging their feet in paying for it?

Not healing? Some postpartum complications are caused by malpractice

Thousands of concerns flash through an expecting mother's mind. While most of these fears dissipate at the sight of your new baby's face, the issue of mishandled tearing can become a lasting impact. It is common for most mothers to tear slightly when their baby is born, but some cases are more severe.

After months of stress and preparation all you will want to do is relax at home with your new baby. It will be a time to rest and let your body heal, but for some mothers the pain and complications will grow. Some issues can occur due to severe tears such as incontinence, infections, and fistulas.

Getting out of the war zone: Should seniors have a different type of ER?

It's a situation you never want to face: stuck in the ER, desperate for answers about what's happening to a person who is dear to you.

Far too often, the triage patients experience in these emergency department settings is brutal. The snap judgments are one-size-fits-all -- even when elderly people, with their complicated conditions, need a different type of screening.

Should hospitals create a different type of urgent-services setting for seniors? In this post, we will discuss the emerging trend toward geriatric emergency rooms.

New Technology Designed to Prevent Retained Surgical Sponges

Last April, we posted a blog entitled "What Steps Do Hospitals Take to Avoid Retained Surgical Items?" While this remains a necessary component of patient safety in the OR, new technologies have been released in recent years to further minimize this risk. These new technologies are an important step to help prevent these surgical "never events" from happening. These technologies include computer-assisted sponge count devices, radiofrequency detection systems, and radiofrequency identification systems.

Saying sorry for surgical errors: How often do doctors actually apologize?

Apologizing to someone for an error on your part that injured the other person is basic human decency.

Indeed, some psychologists believe that saying you're sorry is important even if you weren't at fault. It's a way of expressing empathy and showing you care about what the other person is going through.

To be sure, relationships between doctors and patients are professional, not personal. But national guidelines still call for surgeons and their hospitals to tell patients about any errors that occur during surgery - and to express regret that these errors occurred.

How often do surgeons and health care facilities actually do that? In this post, we will discuss that question.

Leeseberg & Valentine Settles Cases for $200K Against OSU Wexner Medical Center

Last month, attorney Craig Tuttle of Leeseberg & Valentine settled two cases on behalf of his clients against The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The first case settled for $75,000 and the second case settled for $125,000. Both cases, while formally filed with the Court of Claims, were able to be resolved before commencing litigation. Craig commends OSU for its willingness to acknowledge something went wrong and proactive attitude in working to reach an agreement.

Postpartum care: make sure your concerns are addressed

Many stories are set in some long ago time in some land far away and feature some character or characters whose mother either died in childbirth or was somehow maimed and never the same.

But those are far-away stories, right? Well, not entirely. With today's modern medicine healthy babies and moms have become the rule - not the exception. But it is important to note exceptions do still happen.

As we will discuss in this post, injuries to the mother can interfere with what is supposed to be the joyous occasion of welcoming the new child.

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