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Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

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Patient checked by doctorDischarging a patient too early can be hospital negligence that puts a patient at higher risk of readmission or death. An alarming new study shows that 1 out of 5 patients is released from the hospital before his vital signs are stable. The study released in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, was conducted by Dr. Oanh Nguyen (Assistant Professor Internal Medicine Department of Clinical Science), Dr. Anil Makam  (Assistant Professor Internal Medicine Department of Clinical Science) and Dr. Ethan A. Halm (Professor Internal Medicine Department of Clinical Sciences and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine), all from the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center.

Vital signs include:

  • temperature
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Richmont University Medical CenterAn NYPD officer almost died after being assaulted by a violent patient in a New York City hospital. The rookie officer was guarding a patient at Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island. The patient, Dante Martin who had been arrested earlier asked to use the bathroom. After, the officer uncuffed him, Martin pushed her to the ground and went for her gun. The police officer was saved by Rafael Muniz, another patient who helped subdue the suspect.

The NYPD have specific procedures for patients in police custody. They are now investigating the assault.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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hospitalNew York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and CornellNYU Langone Medical Center, New York and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York  placed on the list of the US News 2016-17 Best Hospitals Honor Roll, in respectively the 6th, 10th and 15th position.

Each hospital is evaluated on 16 adult medical specialties and 10 pediatric specialties.

The  New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell in New York, NY is globally ranked number 1 in New York and number 1 in New York Metro Area. It is ranked nationally number 2 in Rheumatology and number 3 in Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery as well as Cardiology and Heart Surgery.

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Surgery at HospitalNew York hospitals are among the worst in the country according to a new analysis by the Empire Center based on ratings just released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  Patients looking for a hospital can now go to the website and compare the quality of care of hospitals in the country. The overall  rating goes from 1 star (worst score) to 5 stars (best score) and is based on 64 measures of quality.

Out of a total of 180 hospitals, only one hospital in New York State had a 5 stars ranking: the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. 12 hospitals scored 4 stars, among them only two of them were located in the New York City: The New York Presbyterian Hospital and the NYU Hospitals Center. 49 of them obtained a 3 stars rating. In NYC hospitals obtaining this score were the Lenox Hill Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and New York Community Hospital of Brooklyn, Inc. 58 hospitals in New York State rated two stars. Among them those located in the city were Beth Israel Medical Center, Lutheran Medical Center, Mamonides Medical Center, Metropolitan Hospital Center, Montefiore Medical Center, New York Presbyterian/Queens, North Central Bronx Hospital, St Barnabas Hospital, St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center. 35 New York hospitals only got 1 star. More than half of them are located in New York City and include Bellevue Hospital Center, Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Medical Center, Brooklyn Hospital Center at Downtown Campus, Coney Island Hospital, Flushing Hospital Medical Center, Harlem Hospital Center, Interfaith Medical Center, Jacobi Medical Center, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Kings County Hospital Center, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, New York Methodist Hospital, Queens Hospital Center, Richmond University Medical Center, St John’s Episcopal Hospital at South Shore, Staten Island University Hospital, University Hospital of Brooklyn (Downstate), Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.

The average star rating for New York State is 2.26 that’s just before Puerto Rico with 2.00, the Virgin Islands and Guam with 2.00 as well and the District of Columbia that comes last of all of the states with an average score of 1.43.

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Elmhurst HospitalA man died from Sepsis after being treated at the Elmhurst hospital in New York City. More investigation will be necessary to determine if the hospital committed medical malpractice. The patient, 59 year old Antonio Flores, showed up at the emergency room of the hospital on July 7th after sustaining a minor injury in a bicycle accident. He was treated and sent back home. The patient came back to the hospital on July 10th and died there from Sepsis the following day.

Sepsis is a potentially life threatening condition that occurs as a complication of an infection. Commonly acquired in healthcare facilities, sepsis if detected early can be treated.

Eelmhurst Hospital has a very good reputation in preventing Sepsis. In 2013 the Hospital won an award at HHC’s Patient Safety Exposition 2013 for hospital achievement in preventing complications and death from Sepsis. At the time Dr. Scott Weingart who was director of critical care in the ER and a co-chair of the STOP Sepsis collaborative had developed a standard treatment protocol to promptly deliver fluids and restore blood pressure. His best practice model called Early Goal-Directed Therapy is based on intense identification, monitoring and treatment of septic patients with unstable blood pressure by promptly giving intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

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operarting roomA fire erupted in a New York hospital operating room while a patient was having surgery. The accident happened in 2014 at  NYU Langone Medical Center but the results of the investigation were only recently released by the New York Department of Health. The report was obtained by the NY Post under a Freedom of Information Law request. In the report State investigators indicate that the hospital lacked adequate safety procedures to prevent surgical fire. NYU Langone Medical Center also was not conforming with standard practices to protect patients from these type of fires.

Additional medical malpractice was also committed by the surgeon  and the anesthesiologist who failed to communicate proprely about which instrument would be used by the surgeon and which gas would be used by the anesthesiologist to check if there was incompatibility or danger.  According to the DOH report the surgeon used an instrument that sparked a fire in presence of the oxygen used by the anesthesiologist. The patient was injured but the the extent of the injury was redacted in the report received by the NY Post.

After  the accident happened at the beginning of December 2014 the hospital didn’t act to improve safety measures to prevent patients from being injured in a similar manner. It was only after the the Department of Health inspection, at the end of the same month, that the hospital instituted new safety measures related to operating room fires. The measures included changing the oxygen delivery method for surgeries posing a high risk of fire.

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missing hospital patientTo let a dementia patient wander out of a hospital in New York constitutes medical malpractice that can result in serious injury and in some cases the death of the patient.

On Monday, Mt Sinai Roosevelt Hospital located on 10th Avenue in Manhattan called the police after they discovered that one of their patients with dementia eloped from the hospital. 58 year old Nilsaida Smiley, a hospital patient who has been there for the past year, wandered out of the hospital barefoot in a red t-shirt and blue pajama bottoms. The police are now asking New Yorkers to help them to find her. The woman is 58 years old, 5-foot-3 and 115 pounds. She is black with brown eyes and black hair. Anyone who saw her can call the Police at 800-577-TIPS. A dementia patient who gets lost in New York is at high risk of injury or death from falls, accidents and exposure.

According to a report from the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 35% of the hospital population has some type of dementia. Wandering is a common habit for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. It is the hospitals responsibility to keep them safe and prevent them from elopement. If a loved one suffers from dementia and needs to be hospitalized make sure that the hospital has a specific policy and rules in place. Hospitals who are effectively  protecting their most vulnerable patients will usually have the following:

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Among the various types of medical malpractice suffered by hospital patients, misdiagnosis accounts for approximately 10% of patient deaths. In a recent Opinion Page from the New York Times, Sandeep Jauhar, a Long Island cardiologist, wants to Bring Back the Autopsy as a weapon to fight misdiagnosis.

With the evolution of medicine and the proliferation of medical tests, autopsy doesn’t seem as essential these days as it was in the past to determine the cause of death of a patient. Before 1971, community hospitals were required to perform autopsies on 20% of their dead patients to earn their accreditation from the Joint Commission. This requirement was dropped after that date. Furthermore in 1986, Medicare considered autopsies financially draining and stopped paying for them. Now an autopsy is mostly considered by doctors as an educational tool.

Recent studies however have demonstrated that despite the medical technological advances autopsy can be a very effective manner to reduce the rate of hospital misdiagnosis.  In his opinion Sandeep Jauhar suggests that Medicare and private insurers pay for them again so that financial considerations doesn’t limit their use.




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As medical technologies are getting increasingly sophisticated so do the risks for hospital negligence and medical malpractice. The ECRI Institute recently released its 2016_Top_10_Hospital_C-Suite_Watch_List and going through this list almost feels like reading a sci-fi novel. Link to 30 page detailed report on blog.  Here is an overlook of the top 10 new medical technologies that hospitals should put on their watch list:

  1. Mobile Stroke Units are high tech ambulances specially outfitted with equipment allowing patients to be diagnosed and if necessary treated directly at their home by a specifically trained staff.  The units are also equipped with telemedecine technology that allows the mobile staff to communicate directly with remote clinical personnel. Strokes are a leading cause of death and traumatic brain injury. Timing is crucial and a reduction of time between the diagnosis and the treatment can save lives and reduce severe injuries.
  2. Medical Device Cybersecurity is a major risk to patients that hospitals have been so far unable to fully control. Medical devices such as a pace-maker or infusion pump are connected through a wire or wifi  to the Electronic Health Record of a patient. These devices can often be too easily hacked. Thieves can then use the personal data for identity theft or to invade the home of the patient when he or she is in the hospital.  In other cases it may even be a murder weapon. Dick Cheney’s doctor had the wifi disabled on his pace-maker due to fear he may be hacked to be assassinated.
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In Davis v. South Nassau Communities Hospital, Edward Davis sued this  New York hospital for medical malpractice after he was injured in a car accident caused by an impaired hospital’s patient. The patient was Lorraine Walsh. Walsh presented herself to the South Nassau Communities Hospital Emergency Room with stomach pain. The ER doctor gave her a very powerful pain medication and told her she could go home.  Because the patient was allergic to morphine, she was given Diluadid, an opioid, which is stronger than morphine and Ativan, a fast acting benzodiazepine with a 6 hour half life intravenously.  The medication that was given by the ER doctor can impair the ability to operate a motor vehicle. However the doctor didn’t warn the patient nor ask if she was indeed driving home alone.

As she was driving back home, Lorraine Walsh, impaired by the medication, crossed a double yellow line into oncoming traffic and struck a vehicle driven by Edward Davis. Edward Davis suffered personal injury caused by the car accident. Davis then filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the physician. The suit was dismissed by the by the trial court and by the Appellate Division. Davis then appealed to the New York Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals had to rule on an interesting question: can a third party injured by an impaired patient sue a medical provider under the theory that the medical provider’s malpractice was the cause of of the third party injury even though the third party didn’t have a direct relationship with the medical provider. In a 4-2 decision, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Davis’claim was permissible.  The Court held that defendants had a duty to plaintiffs to warn Walsh that the drugs administered to her impaired her ability to safely operate an automobile.“Our decision herein imposes no additional obligation on a physician who administers prescribed medication. Rather, we merely extend the scope of persons to whom the physician may be responsible for failing to fulfill that responsibility.” Judge Stein and Judge Abdus-Salaam dissented in a lengthy opinion