Articles Posted in Hospital & Nurse Negligence

stethescope-300x200Nurses, who are fatigued, tired or stressed may be incapable of delivering the kind of quality care that they are required to provide, and may be at a high risk of making mistakes that lead to injury, or even worse, death of a patient.

A combination of factors continues to keep nurses stressed and overworked. Staffing shortages at many hospitals stipulate that nurses work much harder than they are required to, or advised to, and often the consequences are disastrous for patient safety. Besides staffing shortages, hospitals endanger patient safety when they require nurses to work for longer hours than required.

Unfortunately, both of these conditions are far too common in many hospitals, with the result that nurses are frequently stressed and fatigued, and incapable of performing at their best. In fact, several studies have indicated that nurse fatigue not only leads to a higher risk of nursing errors, but also leads to dissatisfied nurses. Nurses who are dissatisfied suffer from low motivation levels, and that can definitely impact the quality of their work. This situation is dangerous, because nurses are at the frontier of providing care for patients, and any mistakes they make can severely impact patient safety.  Additionally, nurses who are stressed or overworked may also suffer from early burnout. This can cause extreme lethargy, frustration, depression and disinterest, all of which are anathema to patient safety.

room-928653_640Medical Malpractice claims are always complicated, time consuming, and technical. A medical claim is rarely cut and dry. Hundreds of pages of medical records and complex levels of medical care must be reviewed and analyzed to fully understand the facts of the claim. Many people are involved in a patient’s hospital care; from the nurses on the floor to the doctors in surgery. Technicians, therapists, orderlies, and licensed medical professionals interact with the patient each hour. Pharmacists and physicians balance overwhelming caseloads. Nurses are overworked and struggle to accurately chart every moment of the patient’s care.  

In this fast paced environment, with competing demands, it is often difficult to determine who is ultimately responsible for medical malpractice that occurs in a hospital setting. In fact, more often than not, more than one party may be liable in a medical malpractice claim. Our office often discovers that the error is a result of a series of mishaps rather than a single care provider making critical errors resulting in injury.

To ensure that your claim is fully understood and accurately filed, it is important to identify all liable parties in your claim by discussing the facts of the case with an attorney. A medical error which occurs as a result of negligence by an employee of the hospital, it might be possible to bring a medical malpractice claim against the hospital and its agents.

Hospital sterilzeSome of the best practices currently in use for the sterilization of hospital rooms may not work as well as intended. A new study finds that more research is needed in order to develop the best guidelines and practices to sterilize hospital rooms and in the process, and in the process, reduce the risk of serious infections.

The study was recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  The researchers reviewed 80 studies dealing with hospital infection control.  They found that many of these studies did not have a patient-centered approach to understanding whether the practices that they recommended worked well to help patients avoid infections. Most interestingly, there is very little data on the effectiveness of the techniques that were suggested or outcomes that benefit patients.

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happy%20nurses.jpgNurse well-being is paramount to patient safety. Hospitals that invest in medical error prevention strategies, infection control measures, and of other measures to reduce the risk of injuries to patients, would also do well to invest in the well-being of their nursing staff as well.

According to new data, nurse well-being has a significant impact on patient outcomes in the hospital. The study was conducted by a team at Kaiser Permanente. The researchers were specifically looking at whether nurses were much better off and had better feedback about their work environment at Kaiser hospitals and Magnet status hospitals, which invest in nursing well-being.

The researchers asked nurses questions about a number of issues, including their level of satisfaction with their work environment, education levels, job satisfaction and the number of patients that they typically attended to in a single day.
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VANC.jpgIt is one of the deadliest hospital-acquired infections that you can contract in a hospital. However, researchers recently announced that they have found the potentially fatal, hospital-acquired C. diff infections can be prevented.

According to the researchers’ report, they have discovered a new way to combat potentially deadly C. diff infections. The infection is caused by the Clostridium difficile bug, and is a fairly common infection throughout many Indiana hospitals. Make no mistake, these are deadly infections, and the fatality rate linked to these infections is very high. However, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these infections can be thwarted by using more friendly and healthy versions of the same pathogen.
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hospital%20seats.jpgOften, when an infection outbreak occurs in a hospital, health investigators keep the outbreak quiet in order to encourage hospitals to self-report the situation. However, those policies, according to several researchers, place patients at greater risk of infection.

A recent series of infections at several hospitals has spotlighted the secrecy that occurs, when there are infectious outbreaks in American hospitals. In 2008, a hospital in Florida saw an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) that was ultimately linked to tainted duodenoscopes. Hospital officials reported the outbreak to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and discussed it with the Food And Drug Administration, but the outbreak was not publicly disclosed. Two years later, doctors investigated the problem in a medical journal.

A few months ago, a similar outbreak linked to contaminated duodenoscopes was traced to CRE outbreaks at the UCLA and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Just as in the case of the Florida outbreak, the Los Angeles outbreaks were also linked to improperly sterilized duodenoscopes.
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weekend.jpgPatients who are admitted into the hospital for treatment of a medical condition are much more likely to suffer a hospital-acquired condition like an injury or illness, when admitted over weekends, compared to patients who are admitted during week days.

The results came from a study that analyzed 350-million hospital admissions between 2002 and 2010. The researchers found that approximately 5% of these admissions resulted in the patient contracting at least one hospital-acquired condition. They also found that admission on a weekend was linked to a 20% higher chance of the patient contracting a hospital-acquired condition, compared to patients admitted during weekdays.

The most common complication for patients admitted into the hospital on weekends was accidents due to fall. Falls occurred in approximately 14-million hospital admissions that occurred on weekends, and accounted for 85% of all the hospital-acquired conditions. Other conditions included bedsores or pressure ulcers, as well as central line-associated urinary tract infections.
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cleaning%20supplies.jpgThe pressure is increasing as medical facilities seek to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections.To that end, hospitals are investing in more innovative technology, including the use of robots to sterilize contaminated rooms and surfaces. The sophisticated, state-of-the-art disinfection robots that are equipped with technology to eliminate infection-causing pathogens. Hundreds of American hospitals have purchased disinfection robots, that are designed to eliminate these deadly and costly bugs. These robots help supplement a hospital’s existing infection control program. Hospital officials believe that these robots can help eliminate the element of human error in sterilizing surfaces.

The use of these robots is fairly new to the medical community, and as a result there isn’t much information available about how effective they might be. At a cost of more than $100,000 for each robot, hospitals haven’t been using these disinfection robots long enough to know whether there is a definite return on investment. However, that hasn’t stopped hospitals from investing in the technology. Sales of the special robots are expected to climb to $80-million in the next two years alone.
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sanitizer%20073.jpgWhen a senior citizen suffers an infection in a hospital intensive care unit, his risks of dying within the next five years increase significantly.

According to the results of a new study published recently in the American Journal of Infection Control, elderly patients in an intensive care unit who contract an infection during their stay in the hospital were 35% more likely to die within five years of being discharged from the hospital. The research was based an analysis of more than 17,500 senior citizens on Medicare and admitted to hospitals in 2002.

The rates of fatality after being discharged from the hospital increased significantly based on individual infections. For instance, the research found that 75% of all patients who suffered from central line associated bloodstream infections died within five years after being discharged from the hospital, while 77% of patients who contracted ventilator-associated pneumonia died during the same period of time.
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hospital%20hallway.jpgAn initiative in some parts of the country encourages doctors to reveal medical errors to patients and apologize for these, as an alternative to a medical malpractice claim against the facility and the doctor. In spite of this approach, an overwhelming majority of hospitals in the United States do not bother to inform patients about injuries or infections that they may have suffered within the facility. Patients rarely get an acknowledgment of the injury, let alone an apology from the hospital, doctors, or nurses.

That unsurprising data was compiled by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Researchers at the facility analyzed responses of 236 patients, who took part in a Patient Harm Questionnaire by ProPublica. In their analysis, the researchers found that in far too many cases, health care providers simply withheld information about any medical errors that were made during the patient’s care. In only 9% of the cases, patients said that the hospital volunteered information to the patient about an error or injury. The study found that even when the hospital did inform the patient, it was only because it had no other option. Of those surveyed, 9% said that the hospital only acknowledged the harm when it was pressured to do so.
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