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July 2012 Archives

Killer Infections

Infections which are not treated in a timely manner can enter the blood stream, cause sepsis and lead to death. There are many types of infections. Cultures are taken of the sputum, skin and blood to determine the type of infection so that the appropriate antibiotic can be selected to treat. Some antibiotics are broad spectrum, meaning they treat many types of infections. Since it can take a couple of days for the cultures to yield findings, such antibiotics should be administered empirically, at the first sign of infection even before the culture findings are received. This is because time is of the essence. Antibiotics must be given before the infection goes out of control and deadly sepsis develops. This can happen in a short period of time.

Pulmonary Embolism after Surgery

Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a clot in the lung, which can be deadly. It typically starts as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), where the blood clumps in the vein of the leg and forms a clot. This is a risk for patients who are bedridden or sedentary. This is why doctors want patients to walk as soon as they are able. There are precautions to prevent DVT, which include pressurized stockings, aspirin, or blood thinners, such as heparin. Nurses and doctors must be alert to the signs and symtoms of DVT and PE, which include pain in the extremity, and shortness of breath. Time is of the essence. Treatment must be started promptly. Treatment includes intravenous heparin, and /or surgery to remove the clot.

Health Clubs must have and use Defibrillators

The risk of heart attack following strenuous exercise is well recognized and the use of defibrillators can be particularly effective if administered in the first few minutes after the cardiac episode commences. General Business Law § 627-a requires health clubs with 500 members or more to have a defibrillator along with a trained operator to use it. Lay responders are often able to use the device with little or no training. In a recent decision by the Appellate Division Second Department, health clubs now have an affirmative duty to use the defibrillator in an emergency. The Court of Appeals previously held that although General Business Law § 627-a requires that defibrillators be present along with a trained operator, there is no affirmative duty to use the device. Generally speaking, a person does not owe a duty to assist a person in peril. Nevertheless, in Miglino v. Bally Total Fitness of Greater New York, 06556-2010, the Appellate Division held that since the statute requires health clubs to have defibrillators and someone trained to use it, health clubs may be liable for not using it in an emergency.