The possibility of medical malpractice is always present, but some believe that the health care industry itself may be to blame. Between the physician, the hospital, the pharmacy and the insurance company involved in a patient's care, there is a great deal of room for hospital errors and miscommunication. Mistakes can occur at any point during a patient's treatment. When a patient first enters the doctor's office, his or her information is taken down and entered into a database. This is the first chance for costly or dangerous mistakes because a simple missed keystroke can mean a wrong diagnosis or incorrect directions for taking medication being given to the patient, opening the potential for injury and damage.
A man who was treated at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, is suing the federal government for $10 million after he claims a nurse caused damage to his groin by improperly applying ice packs.The hospital malpractice suit stems from an incident in which the man entered the VA hospital for medically necessary surgery to his genitals. After the surgery, a nurse continued to apply icepacks to the surgical site for 19 hours. This treatment resulted in frostbite that led to gangrene, according to the complaint, and eventually led to a partial amputation of the patient's genitals that will require reconstructive surgery to correct.
Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center agreed to a $1.25 million dollar settlement last week to compensate the family of a Cleveland, Ohio, man left with a brain injury after an apparent hospital error. The suit was filed in 2010 by the victim's mother, who asserted in her suit that her son received improper medical care during surgery for testicular cancer. She claimed that various hospital errors led to cardiac failure and hemorrhage for her son, and the result of these complications left the victim in a vegetative state.The total settlement amount will not be paid immediately. Instead, the hospital agreed to pay the family in stages, with a lump sum given to the victim's family immediately and payments made on the balance through an established trust. Hospital representatives and members of the victim's family didn't comment on the settlement, but the Ohio Attorney General's office issued a statement that praised the resolution as "fair and just." According to a medical center spokesman, this is not the largest single settlement in the center's history.
Medical mistakes and hospital errors increase when Ohio nurses and doctors suffer from fatigue. The Ohio Joint Commission, which licenses hospitals, reports that many medical personnel work 12-hour shifts or even longer on a regular basis. These extreme work hours increase the likelihood that a person will make a medical error when addressing patients' needs.Nurses, in particular, often extend their shifts beyond the scheduled 12 hours. This happens when patients have pressing medical needs or are unstable. Concerns from the commission include a decrease in empathy from nurses and lapses in decision-making skills when the nurse is exhausted. Ohio and local Hamilton County officials are working to improve both medical personnel and patient experiences in the region's hospitals.
Medical malpractice cases typically involve a health care professional who has either willfully or negligently breached the trust between them and the patient. Indeed, these kinds of cases often arise because a doctor or a nurse made a careless mistake that injured a patient, or even caused a patient to die. In one especially tragic incident, a 7-month-old baby died following a hospital mistake at Children's Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio.The 7-month-old had been admitted to the hospital for heart surgery. However, it was later discovered that instead of placing a saline solution into the baby's body, alcohol was accidentally put in instead. That in turn caused the baby's organs to fail. The 7-month-old tragically died on Aug. 21, 2010 due to a mistake that should not have happened.
In a gut-churning violent crime in 1997, an Ohio man violently assaulted his girlfriend for trying to end their relationship. He knocked her down on the pavement and stomped on her head with his boot-clad feet. The kicking caused brain damage, and since the attack the woman lived in at least six nursing homes until her death in August 2009. Her death led to the assaulter's indictment on one count of homicide in December 2010.