Articles Posted in Wrongful Death Due to Medical Negligence

syringe%20and%20ampule.jpgFocusing on decontamination of all patients in a hospital who may be at risk of suffering a hospital-acquired infection, and not just those who test positive for the MRSA superbug may help bring down overall hospital-acquired infections rates and MRSA infection rates within the facility.

That interesting new revelation came via a study published recently by the New England Journal of Medicine, and flies in the face of current recommendations by the US Centers For Disease Control And Prevention. The federal recommendations focus on testing of all incoming patients for MRSA and isolating the ones who have been contaminated by the superbug.

The research was based on a study of 74,250 patients. According to the researchers, patients in an ICU are already at a much higher risk of infection, and therefore, it makes sense to give everybody the anti-infection treatment, and not just those who have been detected with the MRSA superbug. The use of antibacterial soap and other measures to treat all patients in an intensive care unit, and not just those who test positive can help reduce MRSA infections.
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Regular assessment of the need to continue central line insertion and maintenance of lines can help reduce the risk of infection to pediatric patients in the ICU. According to results from a study that has just been published in the journal Pediatrics, when ICUs follow practices that are designed specifically for pediatric patients, they have a much higher chance of being successful in reducing infection rates.

The use of these pediatric-specific instructions has helped reduce the number of pediatric infectious in several hospitals. The rate of such infections fell from 5.2 per 1000 central line days to 2.3 per 1000 central line days at 29 participating hospitals. The reduction in such infections saved more than 100 lives, and $31 million in health care costs.
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hospital%20beds.jpgPatients who are hospitalized for treatment are just as likely to die from preventable medical errors, as they were a few years ago. There has been little progress in preventing these errors and saving patient lives, in spite of education campaigns and other efforts. That information comes from a study conducted at several North Carolina hospitals.

The researchers reviewed 2,341 patient records in 10 hospitals in North Carolina. They used a list of 54 red flags to indicate a possible adverse event, including readmission to hospital within a period of 30 days and bed sores. The study found at least 588 instances in which patients were harmed by medical care. That works out to approximately 25.1 injuries for every 100 hospital admissions. Those are staggeringly high numbers for any Indiana medical malpractice attorney to stomach.
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keyboard.jpgAs part of the Obama administration’s health care reform package, hospitals will be encouraged to shift from paper medical records to electronic records. So convinced is the administration about the efficacy of these electronic systems in preventing errors and reducing costs, that it has offered incentives to facilities that can speed up the process of shifting to electronic records. Unfortunately, the hurry to shift to an electronic system has been accompanied by poor staff training, computer glitches, and other factors that increase the risk of errors.

Last month, Huffington Post carried a report on how the shift to electronic medical records is being accompanied by increasing numbers of errors. According to data from the Food and Drug Administration, there have been scores of reports of adverse incidents resulting from the use of the electronic systems.
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IV%20drip.jpgEvery year, one particular type of medical infection kills approximately 30 percent of the estimated 99,000 people who died from hospital infections. Consumer Reports is discussing how hospitals around the country including Indiana hospitals, have been able bring down these infection rates through simple steps.

These infections are central line infections, and they are introduced through intravenous catheters that allow intensive care patients to receive medication, nutrients and fluids. The central lines have long catheters inserted into a large vein connected to the heart. These are different from regular IV lines, and can stay in place for months.
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radiation.jpgNew radiation technologies are offering patients more focused and precise treatment, but as a series of investigative reports in the New York Times shows, lack of safeguards, software flaws, faulty programming, poor safety procedures or inadequate staffing and training are causing these technologies to harm the very patients they are meant to treat.

The New York Times profiles a series of radiation errors involving new, more advanced and highly sophisticated machines capable of delivering a treatment called Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). The errors have included overdoses caused by poorly configured systems, radiation that misses all or part of the target or is focused on the wrong part of the body and other errors. With these increasingly sophisticated radiation tools, you would think that the margin for errors would be virtually nil. In fact, as the NYT reports, the complexity of the machines that deliver the radiation, combined with the failure of hospitals to implement processes that catch errors in time and poorly trained staff, have all helped create a “crisis” situation.
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Intravenous.jpgApproximately 1.3 million people in the country, including thousands in Indiana, are injured every year from medication errors. Of these:

* 41 percent of deaths were linked to improper dosage
* 16 percent involved distribution of the wrong medicine * another 16 percent was attributed to the wrong route of medication administration

Now, a new national alert program is aiming to minimize the frequency of such medication errors.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) have developed the National Alert Network for Serious Medication Errors. Actor Dennis Quaid recently announced the launch of the alert program. Quaid has some personal experience with the trauma that patients and families go through when they are injured by these preventable errors. In 2007, his twin boys were administered an excessive dose of the drug heparin. The event occurred at the Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
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