Articles Posted in Medical Malpractice

health-2662312_1920-200x300A new study finds that while many Americans have experienced a medical error, many are also able to identify the mistakes when they occur and are ready to inform staff at the hospital about it.

As many as one in five Americans have experienced a medical error. According to a new study conducted by the IHI/NPSF Lucian Leape Institute and NORC at the University Of Chicago, another one in three admitted to being involved in the care of a person who experienced an error.

Most of these errors were diagnostic errors. Approximately 59% of these errors involved an incorrect diagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose. More errors were likely to occur in outpatient settings than during in-patient care. About 6 out 10 adults experienced a misdiagnosis and 4 out of 10 respondents admitted that they were not treated with respect

xray-1488182-1280x960-300x225While radiologists are aware of the risks and effects of various radiological procedures, physicians may not be as informed about these risks. That lack of knowledge places patients in harm’s way.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR) found that physicians in the United States practicing across multiple disciplines were far less informed about the effects and risks of radiation exposure than they needed to be. Researchers at the University Of Colorado in Denver surveyed healthcare providers from multiple disciplines over a span of two years. They found that 26% of providers were ill-informed about the expected effects of radiation exposure and risks associated with medical imaging procedures.

According to radiologists who participated in the study, it is critically important that health care providers and physicians who supervise radiological procedures or request medical imaging exams are better informed about the exposure involved in these procedures, as well as the risks and benefits involved. They must have this knowledge in order to be able to comfortably and accurately discuss all the risks and benefits of a procedure with their patients, prior to the patient undergoing an exam. The lack of a bare minimum level of understanding of safety issues involving radiation is troubling, and bodes very poorly for patients.

20171230_145109-1-225x300Patient safety advocates know that focusing on hand hygiene and enhancing communication among team members can go a long way in reducing the risk of medical errors. However, many hospitals neglect other factors that can also increase the risk of errors. Many of these factors are never discussed in hospitals or medical settings, but they do have the potential to impact performance, and adversely affect patient safety.

A toxic hospital work environment, for instance, can actually promote medical errors. According to a recent survey of more than 1000 physicians, five common behaviors in many medical settings can increase the risk of medical errors.


doctor-563428_1280-300x200An interesting new study finds that doctors and nurses may be very sensitive to criticism or scolding by patients, which could affect their concentration and place patients at risk.

The study which was conducted in Israel, focused on pediatric patients. In the study, doctors and nurses from several neonatal intensive care units were put through mock clinical scenarios. They used mannequins in place of sick infants, and professional actors were roped in to play the role of parents of the pediatric patients. When these parents scolded the teams, or criticized them for not doing their jobs properly, the researchers found a significant drop in the performance of the team.

Comments like, “I knew we should have gone to another hospital”, were found to impact the team’s performance. Overall, when doctors and nurses who were subjected to critical comments from the active parents were compared to other medical personnel who were not exposed to such comments, the researchers found an overall drop in performance on measures. This included those measures related to accuracy of diagnosis, information sharing, and the amount of time taken to diagnose the patient.

tablets-2148889_1920-300x135Americans are uninterested in having their rights to accountability in medical malpractice cases curtailed. Those are the results of a new study conducted by the Public Policy Polling Institute, which found that citizens of primarily Republican states are overwhelmingly against any tort reform laws that would limit their access to economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The Public Policy Polling survey specifically focused on 7 states-Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Utah, Alabama, Texas, and Arizona. These are states that either always vote Republican, or have voted for either Democrats or Republicans in the recent past. The states were specifically chosen because voters in these states tend to favor tort reform laws that would restrict patient access to economic damages in cases involving injuries as a result of medical negligence. Continue reading

Medical negligence or malpractice of the kind that results in wrongful death has been possibly linked to sleep deprivation or fatigue. For years, experts have warned about the dangers of sleep deprivation and fatigue among health care workers, and their implications for patient safety. Those warnings seem to be quite a legitimate concern.

Often healthcare workers are encouraged to continue to work even if they’re tired or fatigued. This is even though such fatigue has been shown to directly contribute to serious medical errors. In fact, according to a study published in 2006 by the National Academy Of Sciences, medical interns who were on duty for just three hours more per shift, were at risk of making 22% more critical medical errors, compared to counterparts who worked their normal hours per shift.  

The importance of rest, recuperation and rejuvenation is accepted in many other fields, but not so in the medical field. Unfortunately, medical personnel and healthcare workers are conditioned to believe that doing more in less time, and working even when they are tired or fatigued, is a sign of a good work ethic. Even when nurses get a few hours free, they are unlikely to go home and sleep. They’re more likely to run errands, spend time with their families, and study for exams, all because of the punishing schedule that they are on. That means that when they do deal with patients, they are running on very little sleep, and at risk of making errors.

surgical suite med malFar from becoming safer for patients, hospitals in Indiana are actually recording higher numbers of medical errors. New data from the Indiana State Department Of Health reveals that 2014 was a record year for medical error reporting. The statistics are contained in the ninth annual report released by the Indiana Medical Error Reporting System. All the incidents recorded in 2014 occurred in hospitals, or ambulatory surgical centers.

The highest numbers of errors were reported by the Lutheran Health Network Facilities and Indiana University Health Systems; reporting nine errors each in 2014.

According to the Department Of Health, in 2014, hospitals and healthcare facilities across the state recorded a total 114 preventable errors. The previous high was back in 2013, with a total of 111 errors reported.In 2014, the Department Of Health recorded 44 cases of pressure ulcers, and 27 adverse events involving foreign objects left behind in patients’ bodies during surgery. Approximately 21 cases involved surgeries that were performed on the wrong body part, while 10 were fall accidents.

sick%20doctor%20face.jpgA vast majority of doctors, clinical physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals work even while they are sick. This in spite of the fact that most of them are aware that doing so could actually expose patients to the potentially serious, and even deadly infections.

In a recent survey, 83% of doctors, other medical professionals, and caregivers admitted that they worked at least once a year while sick. They reported for work while ill, even though they knew that patients could possibly be at risk for infections or illnesses as a result of being in close proximity to an ill physician. The survey involved more than 900 caregivers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and found that doctors and nurses are very often aware that reporting to work while sick places patients at risk of infection. They also report that they do so anyway for a wide variety of reasons.

The most prevalent reason cited was the desire to prevent from letting their colleagues down. They reported uncertainty as to whether their colleagues would be able to make up the shortfall in staff if they took the day off. About 90% of those in the survey cited this as the primary reason why they reported to work while sick.
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IV%20and%20infection.jpgA series of five simple steps is all it takes to prevent a potentially deadly central line–associated infection in a hospital. The steps are part of a checklist that is simple to follow, and highly recommended by the World Health Organization, but many hospitals continue to delay its use.

The checklist was developed by Peter Pronovost, a critical care physician at Johns Hopkins University. The checklist was born out of the death of his patient, an 18-month-old burn victim who was recovering from her injuries when she contracted the deadly infection. She died just three days later.

When Pronovost went through existing research on central line infections, he was surprised to find that there were actually many steps that hospitals could take to prevent the risk of these infections. Overall, he found more than 90 separate guidelines that hospitals can follow.
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rhode%20island%20light%20house.jpgA Rhode Island hospital has been ordered to pay $25 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is the state’s largest such verdict against a hospital in a case involving medical negligence. The verdict was handed down by a jury against the Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, and amounts to $25.6 million. The lawsuit was filed by a couple who claimed damages for the man who had suffered severe brain damage as a result of the hospital’s negligent care.

The man had visited the hospital in 2009 after a head injury. That was the beginning of his nightmare. The man claimed in his lawsuit, that hospital personnel failed to diagnose his injury properly, and failed to conduct all the required diagnostic tests that should have been performed in his case. In addition, the man charged that the hospital personnel failed to communicate and inform other staff members within the hospital about his condition. As a result, the man suffered severe brain swelling, which ultimately led to permanent brain damage.

He now has trouble with vision and communication. He needs permanent long-term care and has major cognitive difficulties. He is mainly confined to a wheelchair, and has difficulty performing the most routine tasks, like looking after himself or feeding himself. His permanent impairment resulted in a court ordering his wife to be his legal guardian.
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