September 16, 2014

Patients in small military hospitals are at high risk of medical malpractice because the small number of patients compromises doctors and nurses' skills in diagnosing and treating severe illnesses and performing surgery

US%20ARMY%20MEDICAL.jpgSharon LaFraniere and Andrew W. Lerhen from the New York Times continue to investigate Medical Malpractice in military hospitals. The two reporters who last June provided an in-depth analysis of the flaws of the military hospital system (see "In Military Care, a Pattern of Errors but Not Scrutiny" ) recently published a new article focusing on the high risk of medical malpractice in small military hospitals. Military hospitals with a turnover of 10 to 30 patients a day are often staffed with inexperienced doctors and nurses who are not busy enough to keep their skills sharp. Most of them are poorly managed and run by untrained and inexperienced physicians with a culture of complacency that threatens patients safety.
Most of these small military hospitals are being considered for closing or transforming into outpatient facilities by the Pentagon as part of its plan to scale back costs but political obstacles are preventing streamlining the system.

Read the complete article here

August 21, 2014

How can hospital and health care providers mitigate the increased risk of medical malpractice related to tubing misconnections during the transition to new ISO connecting standards?

tubing%20misconnections.jpgTubing misconnection error is medical malpractice mostly caused by nursing or hospital negligence that can result in severe personal injury or death of the patient. Misconnections errors have a high risk to happen not only because most patients checking into a hospital are likely to receive at least an IV but also because tubes with different functions can too easily be connected together. Gardiner Harris from the New York Times raised the alarm on this problem in 2010 in the article "U.S. Inaction Lets Look-Alike Tubes Kill Patients".

To address this issue and prevent these types of medical errors, tubing connector standards have recently been developed through a collaboration of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), clinicians, manufacturers and regulators, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

New connectors are going to start to reach the market during the fourth quarter of 2014 and the transition phase is expected to continue through 2015.

To help health care organization prepare for changes in connectors and reduce the risk of tubing misconnections during the transition phase the Joint Commission recently released guidelines on how to manage risks during the transition to new ISO tubing connector standards.
The complete guidelines can be dowloaded here
Click on the infographic to view as pdf.

August 12, 2014

After more than 40 employees suffered from head, face and groin injuries, OSHA investigated and fined Brooklyn's Brookdale Hospital $78K for failing to protect the staff from violent patients and failing equipment

Brooksdale%20Hospital.jpgIn 2012 there were more than 100 open lawsuits against the hospital including a dozen alleging patients died due to medical malpractice or negligence. The hospital has financial problems and struggles to stay open. The latest report from the federal Labor Department indicates that some employees have been the victims of extremely violent attacks by patients. A 70 year old nurse required brain surgery after a patient repeatedly stomped on her head while beating her and a staffer was punched in the back by a patient. OSHA fined the hospital $78K and recommended the installation of panick buttons and alarm systems at workstations as well as video systems.
Read the complete OSHA News Relase
Read the article in the NY Daily News

June 18, 2014

To reduce intravenous medication errors and potential contamination a New York Hospital turns to advance robotic technology

RIVA%20system.jpgTo reduce IV medication errors and possible contamination, the Belmont's St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, NYC, just acquired a high-tech medication machine that uses robots to fill syringes, sanitize intravenous medications and make sure that patients receive the proper medication.

When an error occurs with intravenous medication, harmful effects to the patient may happen faster and be more severe than errors with oral medications, due the direct administration into the bloodstream.

The RIVA system acquired by the hospital is a fully automated IV compounding system used by hospital pharmacies to prepare intravenous medication (syringes and IV bags) for general hospital needs, chemotherapy and pediatric needs.

Read more in the New York Daily News
Picture: courtesy of Intelligent Hospital Systems

May 22, 2014

Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infections are often the result of hospital negligence; most of them are preventable

CLABSI can be medical malpractice. Most infections occur when medical devices are not properly sanitized or when hospital employees are negligent of patients safety regulations.

One hospital recently demonstrated that CLABSI can be prevented. The White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles implemented a training program that resulted in zero iatrogenic pneumothorax hospital wide and zero CLABSI in the ICU. See video below.

May 13, 2014

What can hospitals do to make sure they are fully prepared to face a water emergency?

Hospital%20Sign.pngWhen a water emergency happens, hospitals have to be ready. They need to plan ahead how to deal with the loss of water for consumption, equipment sterilization, laundry and dialysis. Hospitals in West Virginia faced that emergency recently. The Joint Commission staff met with representatives of 7 of the affected hospitals to discuss how they handle this situation and subsequently released a paper about the lessons that can be learned from the week long water emergency that resulted from the chemical spill of the Elk River.

Read the paper from the Joint Commission here

May 1, 2014

New York Emergency Room Negligence: Bronx Residents and Elected Officials protested Today in front the Montefiore Weiler/Enstein Hopsital to complain about the Excessive Wait Times in the ER

Montefiore%20-%20wikipedia.jpgExcessive waiting time in an emergency room can be medical malpractice. Patients who are coming to an hospital ER with serious personal injury or disease and who have too wait an excessive time have a higher risk to suffer from permanent injuries or to die. At the Montefiore Weiler/Einstein Hospital the average waiting time for the Emergency Room is of 107 minutes. According to Propublica this is the second worst in the entire state of New York. The average wait time in New York is 37 minutes and nationnaly it's 28 minutes.
Bronx Assemblyman Michael Benedetto will hold a conference Thursday outside the center to push the Montefiore-operated hospital to provide answers to the community.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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".

Visit the Rory Staunton Foundation

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