April 16, 2014

To reduce the risk of hospital acquired infections, a recent sudy demonstrates that it is usually safer for patients to administer a blood transfusion after the hemoglobin falls bellow 7 or 8 g/dL rather than below 10g/dL

Blood%20transfusion.jpgHospital-associated infection can be medical malpractice. 5% of hospital inpatients develop an infection during their stay. As a result patients who develop an infection usually have to extend their stay in the hospital. Hospital acquired infection if not diagnosed and treated properly can also lead to the death of the patient. .

Blood transfusion is a very common hospital procedure during which the patient has a risk of developing an infection.

Hospitals have different strategies as to when a blood transfusion is required. Some have a liberal strategy which means that they will administer red blood cells to a patient when the patient's hemoglobin level falls below 10 g/dL and some have a more restrictive strategy and will give a blood transfusion to the patient once the level of hemoglobin is below 8 or 7 g/dL.

A recent study "Blood Transfusion and Risk of Infection, New Convincing Evidence" led by Drs. Mary Rogers and Jeffrey Rohde of the University of Michigan and published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at the association between transfusion strategies and health care-associated infections. The results show that the absolute rates of hospital-associated infection were 16.9% in the liberal transfusion group and 11.8% in the restrictive transfusion group.

Read more about it in JAMA

February 28, 2014

Medical Malpractice:every time a hospital increases the workload of a nurse by one patient, it increases the risk of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7%

nurses_understaffing.gif Nurse understaffing by negligent hospitals can lead to medical malpractice that affect patients outcome. A recent study compared the 30 day mortality rate of more than 400,000 patients over 50 years old who underwent surgery in 300 hospitals in 9 different European countries to nurse staffing and nurse education for each hospital.

The study found that an increase in a nurses' workload by one patient increased the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7% , and every 10% increase in bachelor's degree nurses was associated with a decrease in this likelihood by 7%. These associations imply that patients in hospitals in which 60% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of six patients would have almost 30% lower mortality than patients in hospitals in which only 30% of nurses had bachelor's degrees and nurses cared for an average of eight patients.

Download the study

February 18, 2014

NY Health Department Investigation in the death of Rory Staunton shows that NYU Langone ER committed blatant medical malpractice

Blatant medical malpractice was committed by the Emergency Room staff of the NYU Langone Hospital in New York that lead to the death of 12 year old Rory Staunton according to a recently released investigation by the the New York State Department of Health.

Rory Staunton died on April 1st 2012 from sepsis after a scrape on his arm became infected. He was taken to the ER at NYU Langone Hospital but was sent back home after the staff failed to diagnose sepsis. His condition worsened and he died the next evening.

According to the investigation by the NY Health Department "NYU Langone ER failed to provide care in accordance with acceptable standards of practice for both medical staff and nursing services, as well as a systemic failure related to the reporting and follow up of abnormal laboratory results".

Read More in IrishCentral.com
Visit the Rory Staunton Foundation

Rory%20Stauton%20died%20of%20Medical%20Malpractice.jpgSource: Stauton Family

November 25, 2013

Medication errors by hospital pharmacy are often caused by interruptions and distractions

Pharmacist.jpgHospital pharmacists often commit medication errors or miss doses because they are constantly interrupted or distracted. Recent studies show that interruptions, especially phone calls are increasing the risk of medication error. A recent article By Anthony J. Melanson, BS; and Marc R. Summerfield, RPh, MS published on The "Patient Safety and Quality Helthcare" website compiles the findings from recent studies covering this issue and provides recommendations to improve it.

November 12, 2013

Patient injury resulting from medication use or Adverse Drug Event (ADE) is the most common non surgical medical malpractice occuring in hospitals

Many adverse drug events are preventable and constitute Medical Malpractice. An adverse drug event occurs when a patient suffers injury resulting from medication use. Adverse drug events are the results of medication errors or of known side effects that may happen even if the medication is taken correctly.

According to a recent report from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and led by Audrey J. Weiss, Ph.D. and Anne Elixhauser, Ph.D. , 380,000 to 450,000 hospitalized patients suffer preventable adverse drug events every year.

According to the most recent statistics, in 2011, the most common causes of ADE during hospital stays were Steroids, Antibiotics, Opiates, Narcotics and Anticoagulants with 8 out of 1000 adults over 65 experiencing one of them while hospitalized.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), State Inpatient Databases (SID) for 32 States, 2011

The study also shows that Medicare-covered patients are the most at risk to be injured by an adverse drug event while Medicaid patients have the lowest risk.

When looking at ADEs by hospital ownership, public hospitals have a much lower rate of ADEs than private hospitals. The highest rate of ADEs was recorded in private, not for profit hospitals.

The study also show that hospitals in the Midwest have a much higher rate of adverse drug events than those in other regions of the Unites Sates.

October 31, 2013

New York Medical Malpractice - Hospital Negligence: a maternity ward worker may have exposed hundred of babies to tuberculosis

Babies recently born in St Luke's Hospital in New York may have been exposed to tuberculosis, a contagious and potentially deadly disease. The negligent hospital began notifying parents yesterday that a maternity ward worker tested positive for tuberculosis and that their babies should be tested for the disease. The hospital did not comment on how far back the exposure spans but the parents who notified NBC 4 New York about the infection gave birth more than two months ago.

October 22, 2013

Hopsital Negligence: patient missing for 17 days found dead in hospital stairwell after orderly stepped over her body a week earlier

A worker at San Francisco General Hospital reported to a nurse that he had to step over the passed out body of a woman while going up and down a fire escape stairwell. The nurse contacted the Sheriff's Department who is in charge of the security at the hospital but for some unclear reason no deputy was dispatched to check the location.

A week later, the dead body was found by another employee who had to access the locked stairwell. It was the body of Lynne Spalding, 57, who disappeared from her room on the hospital's fifth floor Sept. 21, two days after she was admitted for treatment of an infection. Her body was found Oct. 8 on the fourth-floor landing of the locked stairwell.

Read more


October 18, 2013

Medical Malpractice: To keep its Cath Lab running, a Negligent Hospital paid a high price for an unqualified surgeon who butchered multiple patients and killed one while performing unnecessary stent procedures

stent.jpgMedical Malpractice related to Cath Lab procedures are on the rise as overuse of Cardiac Stents lead to an increase of deaths linked to this type of procedure.

In a recent article on Bloomberg, Sydney P. Freedberg, describes the shocking extreme the administrators at Satilla Regional Medical Center in Waycross, Georgia went to in order to keep their cath lab operating and producing revenue.

Because of its remote location, the hospital was unable to attract competent cardiovascular surgeons. In order to keep their cath lab running the administrators paid an extravagant salary to a non qualified surgeon, Dr. Azmat whose only experience with cardiac stents was a two weekend course experimenting on cadavers and pigs.

When the surgeon started to operate and butcher patients, administrators completely ignored multiple complaints and warnings from nurses until the worst happened. Ruth Minter, a mother of five died after the surgeon perforated her kidney during a stent procedure that experts said was unnecessary.

After the death of Ruth Minter federal investigators found more than 30 patients who received “worthless,” poor or unnecessary care from Dr. Azmat.

Stents are metal mesh devices that have been used to prop open the arteries of 7 million Americans in the last decade at a cost of more than $110 billion. 70,000 stent procedures are being performed in the US every year. Half of them are used to restore blood flow in patients following a heart attack and their benefits are indisputable. The other half are used in elective-surgery patients in stable condition and are often linked to overuse, wrongful death, personal injury and fraud.

September 30, 2013

Medical Malpractice: Surgical Fire

Most Surgical Fires result from Medical Malpractice or negligence causing serious injury, disfigurement, and even death. They occur in, on or around a patient who is undergoing a surgical procedure. An estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires occur in the United States per year. Despite the fact that the root causes of surgical fires are well-understood, surgical fires still occur.

To promote actions to reduce the risk of risk of surgical fires.The Preventing Surgical Fires Initiative is celebrating its second anniversary during National Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12, 2013.

Fires happen during surgery because the 3 elements needed to start a fire (fire triangle) are present in an operating room:

1. the ignition source which could be a laser or an electrosurgical unit,
2. the fuel source, for example a surgical drape or or the skin of a patient that has been previously treated with alcohol
3. the oxidizer such as the supplemental oxygen or the nitrous oxide used for anesthesia

Most fires happen because of the high concentration of oxygen in the room.

To prevent these fires the FDA and partners including the ECRI Institue, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses have developed guideline to prevent operating rooms fire.

A fire risk assessment is now part of the the universal protocol, or the process by which a patient is confirmed to be the correct patient having the correct procedure at the correct time so the staff is also aware of the elements of the fire triangle in every single procedure.

Proper communications before and during the procedure between all members of the surgical team and specially between the anesthesia provider and the surgeon is also key in preventing these fires.

Below is a video from the FDA that explains how fire happen and what can be done to prevent them.

September 21, 2013

Medical Malpractice: alarming study estimates the number of deaths resulting from Medical Errors by Hospitals may be as high as 400,000 per year. Serious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm

The number of deaths resulting from Medical Errors in Hospitals have been grossly underestimated according to new estimates developed by John T. James, a toxicologist at NASA’s space center in Houston. James runs an advocacy organization called Patient Safety America that he created after his 19 year old son died as a result of medical malpractice in a Texas Hospital.

In 1999, "To Err is Human Report", estimated the number of deaths resulting from medical errors in hospitals at 98,000. In 2010, The Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human Services said that bad hospital care contributed to the deaths of 180,000 in Medicare patients alone in a given year.

According to the study published in the current issue of "Journal of Patient Safety" these numbers are too low and the true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients is estimated at more than 400,000 per year.