Archive for the ‘Hospital Errors’ Category

Medical Malpractice Payments Are Down But Are Medical Errors Really Decreasing?

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Last year, Medical Malpractice payments hit an all time low.  The National Practitioner Databank, set up in 1991 to record medical malpractice payments also reports that payments have been decreasing consecutively for the past 8 years.

One of the reasons for the decline of medical malpractice awards could be individual state’s decisions to place a cap on non-economic damages, which limits the amount of money a plaintiff can receive for pain and suffering.   These caps have not only limited the amount of money one patient can receive, but are also preventing patients from collecting any damages, as more and more attorneys are limited the number of cases they accept because of the caps.

Another reason for the decrease in claims could be lack of reporting.  Healthcare facilities often settle a number of cases out of court.  This is often done to save both time and money.  However, these cases that are settled outside of court do not get recorded in the databank.  This medical malpractice payments that are paid out to clients as a result of the doctor or hospital’s negligence outside of court are not recorded as medical malpractice payments.  This could mean millions of dollars, potentially billions are not being recorded.

William Landess, CRNA, MS, JD is the director of anesthesia at Palmetto Health Richland Campus in Columbia, South Carolina.  He believes that the lack of reporting could be the answer.  “I believe the numbers, I just don’t believe they’re a fully accurate portrayal of the actual number of malpractice claims or their financial impact.”

Two Medication Overdoses Reported at St. Lukes

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Last week the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported that two patients at St. Luke’s had been overdosed with infusion pumps by nurses at the facility. These alleged overdoses come shortly after staff had been retrained because of an infusion pump overdose last fall.

St. Luke’s University Health Network has issued a statement saying that two patients did receive overdoses of medication. One of the patients experienced a critical drop in blood pressure and reportedly responded
to additional medication provided to combat the blood pressure drop. The other patient recovered from the medication mistake within a few hours, according to reports.

We wish everyone injured by these alleged medication errors a fast and complete recovery.

Staying Safe Upon Hospital Discharge

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Medical mistakes can happen at any time. However, there are times in the treatment of patients when health care mistakes are more likely to happen than at other times. The transition out of a hospital upon a hospital discharge may be one of those times.

Accordingly, a new report by Avalere Health for the Alliance of Community Health Plans has identified five practices that may decrease risks for patients as they are discharged from hospitals. Those practices include:

  • Using information to draft transition programs for individual patient needs.
  • Anticipating patient needs and involving patients in the transition process early on.
  • Engaging providers as active participants in transitions.
  • Using technology to improve transitions.
  • Incorporating transition care into broader initiatives.

As a patient, it is important for you, and your caregivers, to be involved in the transition process and to take steps to prevent medical mistakes from being made upon hospital discharge.

Hospital Patient Safety Checklist

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Whether you are going to the hospital for a planned surgery or a loved one has been suddenly hospitalized in an emergency, it is important to know what to do so that you can protect the patient. Hospitals are not
always the safe haven that we imagine them to be and it is important to be alert and to take the steps necessary to protect yourself or your loved one.

Specifically, you can, make sure that:

  •         The patient has an advocate.
  •        Everyone is aware of what medications the patientis on and when each drug was last taken.
  •        Everyone who comes into contact with the patient knows why the patient is there and what treatment is expected.
  •         Everyone who comes into contact with the patient washes his or her hands first and wears gloves, if appropriate.
  •         Anyone administering medication, doing anexamination, performing a test, or otherwise providing treatment confirms the patient’s identity first.

We hope these five tips help provide you, or your loved one, avoid a medical mistake in a Pennsylvania hospital.

Why Would a Hospital Refer a Patient to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The title of this post is not the beginning of a joke, but a serious question. Some hospitals in Maryland have begun doing just that – referring patients to medical malpractice attorneys after a mistake has been made.

MedStar Health reports that their approach is to talk to the patient about what happened, work toward a solution and, if appropriate, offer a settlement. If the patient does not agree to settle then the hospital takes the unusual step of providing the patient with the name and contact information for a medical malpractice lawyer.

MedStar, and other Maryland hospitals that use this system, say that it helps settle cases quickly and saves on legal expenses for all parties. Opponents of this system express concerns that the limited number of lawyers on the hospital’s list may have conflicts of interest.

Do you think such a system would benefit those hurt by medical malpractice in Pennsylvania or should those hurt by a doctor’s error find their own Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer? Please leave a comment and let us know.