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Hospital Errors Archives

Unnecessary C-sections pose problems for pregnant women

Many pregnant women in Kentucky will be interested to know that some of the prenatal advice they've heard from their medical professionals may not always be in their best interest. A new survey conducted on 2,400 women who had recently given birth has found that some women often experience several invasive interventions and medical procedures, including induced labors and cesarean sections, without truly understanding the risks involved.

Unprofessional medical behavior compromises patient safety

Medical errors across the nation, including Kentucky, cause many debilitating injuries and deaths yearly. Some hospital mistakes are simply due to conflicts between doctors or surgeons and nurses or other hospital personnel. In one such case, a technical assistant became frightened during heart surgery after the doctor swore and screamed. The assistant believed the man would hit him, and he won a $325,000 settlement after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that he was traumatized by the surgeon.Disagreements among health care workers can lead to medical safety problems for patients and compromise their health and even their lives. According to a 2009 study by the Joint Commission, the issues can include disruptive behavior, hostility, intimidation, threats and verbal outbursts. However, they can also include passive-aggressive behaviors toward other employees or patients.

UnitedHealth loses malpractice lawsuit

UnitedHealth Group, a national provider of health insurance to residents of Ohio, Kentucky and other states, was recently ordered to pay $500 million in punitive damages to plaintiffs in a Las Vegas civil lawsuit. The three plaintiffs, who will share the hospital malpractice damage award, had claimed that the company contracted with a clinic whose practices infected the victims with hepatitis.The original lawsuit requested $2.5 billion in damages. Instead, the jury awarded $270 million in damages from the state health plan and $230 million from the parent company that managed the clinic. Plaintiffs are said to be pleased with the settlement even though it was a fraction of the requested amount.

Medical malpractice leads to teen death

Routine wisdom tooth surgery turned deadly for one teen when she was deprived of oxygen during an extraction procedure. For parents in Ohio as well as throughout the country, the fear of hospital malpractice is at its highest when children are involved. In this case, the parents chose to file a malpractice lawsuit against the healthcare professionals involved in the teen's death.The 17-year-old girl died after routine surgery to extract a wisdom tooth. An autopsy revealed that she had been deprived of oxygen during the procedure, leading to a coma from which she never recovered. The parents filed a civil lawsuit, naming the anesthesiologist, the surgeon and the medical office as respondents. The suit claimed that the staff failed to revive the girl when her heart rate slowed dangerously, indicating that her brain was not receiving sufficient oxygen.

Shorter hours may increase medical errors

Ohio residents may have seen a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that shows surprising results. According to the report, shorter hours for residents actually increased medical errors by 15 to 20 percent. The original purpose of the study was to determine if decreasing hours that doctors worked without a break from 30 to 16 would decrease incidents of hospital malpractice. However, the results seem to show the opposite is true. Residency programs are not regulated by federal rules; instead, they are governed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. This agency has been revising residency standards since 2003. While the shorter shift was believed to reduce errors, the study points out problems with that assumption. Apparently, asking doctors to perform the same amount of work in less time has increased medical errors as they become rushed to complete tasks.

1 million injured in hospitals each year

Errors on the part of hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers affect more than 1 million people each year. Hospital errors can be physically disabling but they can also have serious mental consequences for the victims and their families. Many victims suffer relationship problems, sleep patterns and depression. Patients from Ohio to Kentucky and elsewhere who have suffered from medical errors now have a new voice through a Facebook group.The psychological symptoms after a hospital or doctor error are similar to those displayed by people who have been sexually or physically abused. Victims expected to be safe with their doctors; instead, they found that they were harmed. This can lead to extreme stress, mental anguish and ultimately to psychological problems such as depression.

Doctors cite overused procedures as costly and harmful

Ohio and Kentucky residents may have heard that a group of medical experts reported that almost 100 common procedures are overused and may be unnecessary. In some cases, these procedures can even be harmful and may lead to hospital errors or other complications that cause danger for patients. CT scans for head injuries, early C-sections and Pap smears are on the list of overused and possibly dangerous procedures and treatments.The list was compiled under the organization of the American Board of Internal Medicine and includes such prestigious groups as the American Academy of Neurology. Doctors are very concerned about the overuse of the identified procedures and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare. The United States currently spends over $2.5 trillion per year, or more than $8,000 per patient, on health care. This figure is 2.5 times the amount spent by other western nations. Part of this discrepancy is price-oriented, as American hospitals and doctors simply charge more than those in other countries. However, American doctors also order more tests and authorize far more elective procedures than their colleagues in other nations.

Hospital and doctors sued for unnecessary surgeries

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.

Medical errors far from uncommon

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.

Electronic health records pose safety risk for medical negligence

Ohio residents may be surprised to learn that copying and pasting patient care notes made by other doctors and medical staff in electronic health records or EHRs is a very common practice. It is such an epidemic that one doctor and professor at a major medical university said that it has a name - "sloppy and paste." Imagine you or a loved one is a patient in a hospital and have just undergone a major surgery. Your doctor makes a note in your EHR that you will require a certain dose of a medication.

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