Articles Posted in Hospital & Nurse Negligence

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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hospital%20bedsores.jpgIn 2013, the most frequently reported medical errors in Indiana hospitals were pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bedsores. The Indiana Department of Health recently released its latest error report, and found that there was an increase in the number of stage 3 or four pressure ulcers or bedsores, from 2012.

There was an increase from 30 pressure ulcers in 2012, to 45 in 2013. These were bedsores that were acquired after the person gained admission to the hospital. Overall, there were 111 medical errors reported across Indiana hospitals and clinics in 2013. That was a substantial increase over the previous year, and it also marked the highest number of medical errors in any single year since the state of Indiana began reporting medical errors in 2006. The average number of medical errors every year since the start of reporting in 2006 is approximately 100.9 events annually.
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nurse%202.jpgNurses who care the most about their patients are at a higher risk of emotional stress and exhaustion, and ultimately burning out. Those surprising results of a new study find that nurses who are more dedicated to caring for patients and enter the health care profession because of a passion for caring for others seem to be too invested in their patients, and therefore are at a higher risk of exhaustion. These nurses are actually much more likely to leave the profession early.

Nursing is a demanding job. Nurses are a critical part of the health care system and keeping nurses motivated, healthy, and satisfied with their jobs can do a lot to help reduce the risk of medical errors involving nurses. Unfortunately, a number of distressing studies released over the past few years have pointed to flagging nursing motivation levels, poor health among nurses, and higher rates of burnout. Earlier this year research found that nurses often report low levels of motivation, because of lack of support in their job. In other cases, nurses reported being unappreciated, and suffer from too little sleep and irregular eating habits. As a result, their health suffered.

Now, a study that was published recently found that nurses, who entered the profession because of a passion for care giving were actually likely to have that passion backfire on them: These nurses were more likely to burn out. In contrast, nurses who entered the profession for other factors were more satisfied with their jobs and had a lower risk of leaving the profession.
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holding%20hands.jpgThere’s no denying that nurses are an important cog in the healthcare wheel, and play a critical role in delivering safe medical care to patients in Indiana. However, many nurses in a recent survey reported feeling demotivated, stressed, and at risk of burnout.

The issue of nurse burnout is one that many Indiana hospitals continue to neglect to their own detriment. As a recent survey shows, those issues are substantial, and nurse resentment against the medical system continues to fester and frustration with work conditions and job stress are taking their toll.

The survey involved more than 3,300 nurses and reports that 54% of the nurses admitted sleep deprivation. They admitted that they very rarely obtained 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. Approximately 31% also admitted that they were only able to sleep for 7 hours per night close to three times a week. Approximately 3/4 of the nurses admitted that they did not eat well or rarely on time.

These nurses are reporting to work in a fatigued, stressed, and tired condition. Bad health can mean lower energy levels, and poor alertness. Being distracted and frustrated, a nurse may not be able to concentrate well enough to prevent serious medical errors.
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pestle%20and%20mort.jpgMore than 7,000 people are killed every year in medication errors in hospitals. Many hospitals are struggling to minimize the risk of drug dosage, administration, and other errors in their facilities. One hospital, however, has invested heavily in increasing the number of pharmacists in its emergency department, with successful results.

At the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Dallas, all drugs that are administered in the emergency department first go through a pharmacist before they go to the patient. The pharmacist reviews the medication to make sure that the medication is the right one for the patient and that the dose administered is also correct. It is an expensive investment, but according to Children’s Medical Center, the results have been very encouraging.

At the facility, there are currently 10 full-time emergency pharmacists. That is a higher number than any other hospital in the country. They are on call 24-hours a day. However, the hospital believes that it’s worth the investment because of the reduction in the number of medication errors.
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stethescope%2013.jpgThe Department of Veterans Affairs has found itself embroiled in a nationwide scandal at several of its facilities. Cover-ups aimed at showing that facilities were conforming with VA regulations, while they were, in fact, delaying care for servicemen and women.

Now, the administration has decided that it will slowly allow service members to access medical care at private facilities around the country. The federal administration made the decision to allow more veterans to seek medical treatment or care at private hospitals because this will help take some of the pressure and strain off Veterans Affairs facilities across the country that are struggling to cope with a continuing stream of patients. It is not just veterans returning from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have to wait for weeks and even months for an appointment. Even veterans of earlier wars requiring medical treatment have to deal with long wait times. As these veterans get older, their need for medical treatment only becomes greater.

The Veterans Affairs scandal broke recently after whistle blowers alleged that as many as 40 service members died due to delayed medical care at a VA facility in Phoenix. These were servicemen and women who waited for appointments and medical care that never came their way. Simultaneously, staff maintained a secret wait list at the facility that was designed to show that the hospital was conforming to federal guidelines for timely care for veterans. Such falsification of records has now been found to exist not just at the Phoenix facility, but at other VA facilities across the country.
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