With all of the news of medical malpractice coming out of Kentucky lately, readers might be curious about how some of the various types of medical malpractice rank in the state. Data from the Kentucky Department of Insurance sheds some light on the number of claims resolved against various types of providers in the state. The data presented is for 2012 because the data for 2013 isn't yet available.
Kentucky patients who are facing surgery may want to consider a recent media report about an Iowa surgeon who defended robot surgeries despite recalls and several complaints about the da Vinci Surgical System, a set of robotic arms that a surgeon controls via joy-stick. He claims that during his seven years of using the device, he has never run into any problems that couldn't be remedied with simple troubleshooting techniques. In the robot's defense, the surgeon says he believes it provides much more benefit to a patient because of the shorter recovery time they experience as a result. System experts also perform safety checks on the equipment quarterly.
Covington may not be as crowded as Manhattan, but the news that a New York City maternity ward employee may have spread tuberculosis in a busy hospital may have sent chills to new parents all around the country. No cases of wrongful death from TB had been reported, but authorities said that hundreds of newborns were possibly exposed to the deadly disease from the worker, who tested positive for the contagious illness.
A study released in 1999 reported that medical errors in Kentucky and across the nation claimed the lives of nearly 100,000 people annually. However, a study published in the Sept. 2013 Journal of Patient Safety reported that those numbers could actually be closer to 440,000 patients, or more than 1,000 people per day, who die from hospital mistakes or negligence each year.
Kentucky readers may take an interest in the issue of serious hospital errors and the efforts of non-profits and advocacy groups to make hospital safety records public information. One such non-profit, The Leapfrog Group, represents employers and other healthcare purchasers. They have compiled a list of the most serious mistakes that hospitals make, mistakes that they call never events, meaning that these hospital errors should never happen. According to a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, some of the most serious events take place approximately 11 times every day. When all events on the list are accounted for, both surgical and non-surgical, they occur around 200 times per day to Medicare beneficiaries alone.
Kentucky residents may not be aware of the high number of patients who are subjected to medical errors or who experience issues with their healthcare. A study of nonfatal errors conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Medicine found that almost one in five patients are harmed in some way during the course of their hospital care. The number may be larger since some patients might not report medical mistakes or quality problems with their care.
Are there better times than others are as far as being scheduled for a hospital procedure in Kentucky is concerned? According to some studies, there may be better times to have surgery or deliver a child. Additionally, some months may be better than others to be hospitalized. Time of day may play an important role in avoiding hospital malpractice.
A doctor at an internationally well-known hospital, New York City's Mount Sinai Medical Center, was recently relieved of his duties after performing an incorrect kidney operation. The patient, a 76-year-old man who had two diseased kidneys, was scheduled to have one of them removed. The surgeon who performed the operation accidentally took out the wrong kidney, and he was subsequently prohibited from performing both clinical and administrative tasks.