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Articles Posted in Hospital Negligence

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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New data from New York DOH unveil mortality rates for cardiac surgery by hospitals and by type of procedure. Even though some procedures are by nature riskier than others, New Yorkers suffering from heart conditions should understand that not every hospital offers the same level of safety.

Based on the data provided by The New York State Health Department here are some of the findings:

Valve surgery is the riskiest type of cardiac surgery with a mortality rate of 4.59% for New York State between 2008 and 2010. PCI or Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, sometimes also called coronary angioplasty or coronary stenting is the less risky of all types of cardiac surgeries as long as it is a planned surgery. It becomes riskier when it is an emergency procedure.


The following graphs show the mortality rate by hospital for the various type of procedures. Because some hospitals may deal with riskier cases than others the graphs show 3 types of mortality rates:
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