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Honolulu Hawaii Sexual Abuse Law Blog

Misdiagnosis a factor in vaping-related illnesses

As vaping-related lung injuries are reported more frequently in Hawaii and across the country, some people may be suffering more due to misdiagnosis. Doctors across the country as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are struggling to understand why hundreds of people have suddenly become ill with a serious lung disease after vaping or using e-cigarettes. Vapes have been on the market for years and are popular internationally, but the disease appears to be occurring mostly in the United States. People are reporting to doctors' offices and hospitals with shortness of breath, cough, nausea, vomiting and fatigue, and some of them are showing signs of a serious lung illness.

However, when people began reporting the mysterious vaping disease, many were misdiagnosed. They were told they likely had bronchitis or a viral respiratory infection and sent home. If not treated, the vaping-related illness worsens quickly over time. They may have trouble breathing at all and may require emergency treatment. Over half of the patients that arrived at the hospital in two states required intensive care after their symptoms were initially dismissed with a misdiagnosis. A full 33% required ventilators to support their breathing.

Ohio medical board criticized for failing to end OSU sexual abuse

Hawaii residents may be aware that the reputations of several prominent universities have been tarnished because they failed to take action to protect their students from known sexual predators. Several senior Penn State University administrators were forced to resign and ultimately faced criminal charges for impeding the investigation into the activities of Jerry Sandusky in 2011, and a similar scandal is now engulfing Ohio State University.

Several former OSU student athletes have stepped forward to accuse Dr. Richard Strauss of sexually assaulting them during bogus medical examinations. An independent commission tasked with looking into the allegations reported in May that at least 177 students had been abused and the university has likely been aware of the doctor's behavior for decades. Strauss, who committed suicide in 2005, worked as a team physician with the OSU Athletics Department between 1978 and 1998.

Radiology errors and how to reduce their likelihood

Residents of Hawaii who have an X-ray done may not have to worry much about the possibility of misdiagnosis, but those who undergo an MRI or CT scan are at a higher risk. Errors from false-positive readings can occur in 30% of diagnoses involving these two radiology exams. Radiology errors are among the most serious with 80% of missed diagnosis claims in radiology ending in either permanent injury or death according to Coverys.

Preventing radiology errors or at least reducing their likelihood is crucial, and there are several ways to do it. First, radiologists need to feel compelled to adhere to high standards of conduct, and this can be achieved through a peer-review process. Second, employers should do whatever they can, from shortening work shifts to structuring break time, to prevent burnout.

Understanding the severity of birth injuries

Living in a first-world nation, you would assume giving birth in any reputable hospital would be fine. However, the United States has one of the highest infant mortality rates out of any first-world country. The U.S. sees 5.9 infant deaths out of every 1,000 births compared to 3.9 deaths out of 1,000 births in other developed nations. 

However, it is not just infant mortality to worry about. There is also a likelihood of the infant experiencing a birth injury. All women who become pregnant should learn about the possibility of birth injury so they can take active steps to avoid such trauma.

Report calls for changes to protect children in sports

Revelations about the prevalence of sexual abuse in elite sports, especially those involving children, have shocked people in Hawaii and across the country. The sexual abuse scandals in gymnastics and other sports have led to calls for major changes in how these sports are managed and governed, especially as many vulnerable young people participate intensively in these activities. Congressional leaders issued an investigative report criticizing the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics for their inadequate safeguards to protect athletes.

In particular, the report noted that even when evidence of sexual abuse was made known to officials, the organizations failed to report the crimes to the police or other law enforcement officials. Instead, perpetrators were protected in the interests of preventing harm to the reputation of the sport or the organizations involved. In addition, rather than taking extra care to prevent future abuse, the organizations allegedly aimed to cover up their own negligence and protect their reputations despite survivors coming forward to tell their stories.

The different ways malpractice can occur

Patients in Hawaii could fall victim to many different medical errors, some of which may rise to the level of medical malpractice. One common reason for malpractice claims is a delayed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis. Failing to diagnose a condition in a timely manner may prevent the patient from seeking the treatment that they need while it can still be effective.

Medical malpractice often occurs during childbirth or while a mother is pregnant. If a doctor misses signs of gestational diabetes or lupus, it might cause harm to the fetus. A baby could also be injured if a medical professional used forceps or a vacuum incorrectly.

List of abusive priests' names released

People in Hawaii and across the country are living with the aftereffects of sexual abuse that they suffered at the hands of priests. For many years, survivors have fought to gain recognition for their trauma and some measure of justice from the Catholic Church. In many cases, priests known to abuse children were simply transferred away from a particular area. Many survivors have called on church officials to release lists of names of clergy known as sexual abusers. In Rhode Island, the Diocese of Providence released a list of deacons, priests and clerics that it said had been the target of credible allegations of child sexual abuse.

The diocese posted a list of 50 names on its website, and it includes 19 priests and deacons who are still alive. Almost all of them have since been removed from the ministry, while one priest resigned his job. Twenty-five dead priests and six religious order clerics and others are also on the list. The document also includes a record of the places where each man worked based on files dating back to 1950. The bishop in the area called the release of the names a "difficult but necessary" step.

Burning in the mouth is not always burning mouth syndrome

A burning in the mouth is a symptom found in many conditions, including dry mouth syndrome, diabetes and anemia. However, many patients in Hawaii and across the U.S. are being diagnosed with burning mouth syndrome the moment doctors realize that this is one of the symptoms. It is a misdiagnosis that leads to some patients never getting the correct treatment. Others have to see several doctors before being correctly diagnosed.

Researchers at the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, together with an international research team, analyzed numerous clinical trials made around the world between 1994 and 2017. They found that many of the patients may have been misdiagnosed because of the way BMS shares symptoms with other conditions.

Medical malpractice: The importance of additional opinions

When you feel sick or suffer a serious injury in Honolulu, one of the first things you do is go to your doctor or a medical facility for diagnosis and treatment. Due to the extensive education, training and high level of expertise they have, you implicitly trust physicians, nurses and other medical personnel with your life. Regardless of the type of care you feel you need or how long you have been a patient of a particular doctor, it is wise to take extra precautions to avoid becoming a medical malpractice victim. 

One action that can significantly reduce the likelihood of negligence and mistakes in your care is for you to seek out additional opinions from other experts in the field. Most errors that occur in the health care field involve diagnostic errors

SBC to focus on change following sex abuse scandal

Sexual abuse by priests is an issue that Hawaii residents and others have likely heard about recently. How to put a stop to such abuse is one of the key topics that will be discussed during the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention, or SBC. A variety of solutions will be considered, such as expelling churches that fail to report abuse or otherwise fail to take reports seriously. There may also be a committee formed that would be responsible for overseeing how claims are handled.

Since the 2018 meeting, reports from newspapers in Texas have indicated that abuse claims have been made for at least 20 years. During that time, roughly 700 people were victims of priests and other leaders who eventually returned to their roles within the church. A report will be issued that includes statements from victims as well as what the church has done wrong in addressing those complaints.

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