Kentucky residents may have heard that according to a teenage tonsillectomy patient's mother, her daughter began bleeding from the nose and mouth shortly after awakening from the surgery before going into cardiac arrest. Attending physicians eventually pronounced brain death and announced plans to remove life support not long after. That decision was apparently overruled by parental objection with requests for more time.
One Kentucky hospital and several cardiologists are facing lawsuits filed by patients who claim that they underwent unnecessary procedures. These hospital errors are being disputed by the defendants, although there is other evidence suggesting that there may have been unnecessary surgeries, catheterizations and other procedures performed on patients.Altogether, 400 patients are involved in the lawsuit along with 11 cardiologists. The hospital, located in the Kentucky city of London, was cited by Medicare and Medicaid for failure to review the necessity of some 3,367 catheterizations that were performed in 2010 and is currently being investigated by the Justice Department to evaluate the medical necessity of cardiac procedures performed by the facility.
A new study reveals that the number of doctor and hospital errors centering on liposuction procedures may be at the same rate as 25 years ago, leading to speculation that the procedures are unsafe. Researchers believe that oversimplification for the public as well as plastic surgeons with an eye toward making a profit contribute to the unsafe situation.The researchers who co-authored the study state that much could be done to save patient lives that is not currently being implemented. For example, the researchers found that toxicity from anesthesia, infection and blood lidocaine levels have all contributed to patient death. Doctors sometimes cut corners by using unlicensed anesthesia personnel as well.
Stories of surgical sponges and even instruments left in patients might seem hard to believe, but they definitely happen. These types of hospital errors appear with alarming frequency. However, new technology may help doctors avoid this pitfall and keep patients safer and healthier.About 4,000 so-called retained surgical items are reported every year in the United States. Most of these are sponges are used to control bleeding. In most operating theaters, nurses are responsible for counting the number of sponges used to be sure they are all retrieved. New technology such as radio-frequency tags has made the old method of counting obsolete, but some hospitals cling to these practices.
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.
While lying on an operating table, a patient that had been administered anesthesia recalls a nurse screaming: "Oh, my God! He's on fire!" The patient was not imagining what he heard because he actually did suffer second-degree burns to his shoulder, chest and neck due to a hospital error.
There's a reason why we in Ohio and Kentucky hold our hospitals to a higher standard of care. We don't want hospitals to be operated in such a manner that medical blunders can be excused.
Surgeries performed that result in infection for patients kills approximately 8,000 patients every year. Yet hospitals throughout the country including Kentucky and Ohio are reluctant to report such surgical errors, and this is why a call for new public reporting standards is underway.