We depend on our doctors and health care practitioners to use best practices and good judgment. We count on hospitals and healthcare facilities to have standards of practice in place that provide consistent care with the goal of decreasing instances of improper care, medical malpractice, misdiagnoses and unnecessary procedures. However, sometimes in their overzealousness, doctors may utilize treatments that are unnecessary and actually harm the patient leading to medical malpractice. A 2010 investigation into the HCA chain of hospitals, provoked by a letter from a hospital nurse, revealed that unnecessary cardiac procedures were being performed at an HCA hospital in Florida. The incident was brought to the attention of the hospital's chief ethics officer in the summer of 2010 and the allegations were substantiated just two months later. It was further discovered that unnecessary procedures were being performed at other HCA hospitals, which drove up costs and resulted in more profit.
A wrongful death action was filed in northern Virginia recently, the result of a medical malpractice claim against a Cleveland, Ohio doctor licensed to practice medicine in Virginia. A Fredericks County family accuses the doctor of failure to diagnose and other medical mistakes arising from his treatment of a patient at Winchester Medical Center on June 3. The patient died from heart surgery complications after the doctor was said to have failed to diagnose the patient's condition and also failed to follow medically acceptable procedures under the circumstances.
Medication errors in Ohio are potentially devastating. An Ohio pharmacist once served six months in jail for neglecting to detect a mistake made by a technician in mixing chemotherapy. A 2-year-old girl, receiving what was to be her last chemotherapy treatment, died as a result of the medication error in giving the girl an overdose of saline. Perhaps to cut costs, the pharmacist was working alone on the Sunday he made the mistake; with no help other than the technician who composed the fatal mixture. The fact that the pharmacist and others who have committed similar forms of medical malpractice have felt overwhelming pangs of guilt has lead to the coining of a descriptive phrase for them, the "second victim."
A woman who lost her daughter to breast cancer spoke out about her experience at a recent breast cancer awareness event in Ohio. Her experience serves as a tragic reminder that a failure to diagnose cancer by health care professionals does happen. She stressed the importance of getting a second opinion and a mammogram.