HPV or Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease for men and women in the U.S. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. There are over 100 types of HPV and more than 40 types can be transmitted via sexual contact. It usually has no symptoms but may manifest as genital warts or cervical cancer.
HPV is spread via vaginal, oral or anal sex. It can also be contracted via genital touching and can be passed unknowingly during childbirth. HPV usually goes away on its own but may cause diseases including: cervical cancer, genital cancers, oropharyngeal cancer and genital warts.
HPV has no cure but there are treatments for genital warts...
Food Choking Hazards in Children
Choking events are a significant cause of childhood morbidity and mortality. Many parents of children under the age of 4 are not aware they might be exposing their child to choking hazard foods. Unlike the manufacturing standards for labeling toys intended for children, the food industry does not regulate choking hazard foods in a similar fashion. The American Academy of Pediatricians has recommended the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate choking hazard foods. Parents are more likely to correctly identify nonfood choking hazards than they are food choking hazards.
Childhood obesity is a big problem in the United States. According to the Mayo Clinic, childhood obesity is a serious medical condition affecting children and adolescents. It occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. According to the CDC, the percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same...
Was My Child’s Cerebral Palsy Preventable?
This is a common question parents have when their child has been given a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. The short answer is that the majority of cases of cerebral palsy are not preventable. Statistically, despite the large number of known and proposed causes, the origin of cerebral palsy in most cases is unclear.
Zika Virus & Birth Defects
If you follow the news, then you have probably learned of a health concern involving the Zika virus and its purported correlation with birth defects suffered by babies born from mothers who contracted the virus while pregnant. One of the most notable defects that is suspected to be caused by the Zika virus is microcephaly, an abnormally small head and brain portending devastating cognitive disabilities for the baby. While only rare anecdotal cases have occurred in the world thus far, the news media coverage of the Zika virus has raised awareness for the importance of good prenatal care and testing to detect potentially devastating conditions that can occur to the fetus prior to delivery.
Prevention of Wrong Site Surgery
A universal protocol for prevention of wrong site surgery has been in place for over 10 years. Despite this widely adopted protocol, wrong site surgery still occurs, as many as 2,700 cases each year. In addition there are many more near misses that are corrected moments before an incision is actually made. Wrong site surgery is considered a “never event” because it should never happen and is a risk of surgery that a patient should never have to accept.
Ongoing cases of wrong site surgery are due to inconsistent practice or lack of participation in the established protocols to prevent a mishap. Wrong site surgery can be on the wrong patient, wrong body part, wrong side of...
Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause diarrhea. C. diff infection is the most common cause of diarrhea that occurs during or after the use of antibiotics. The most common symptoms of C. diff infection include: (1) frequent and watery diarrhea, (2) fever, (3) nausea, (4) abdominal pain and tenderness, and (5) loss of appetite.
Falls in the emergency room
Falls in the emergency room Every 15 seconds an adult falls in the emergency room; every 29 seconds an adult dies from a fall.
Of the 700, 000 to 1 million people who fall every year in US Hospitals, one-third could have been prevented if the risks attendant to the patient’s illness were properly managed. This means nearly 300,000 falls could have been prevented every year.
When a patient is admitted to the hospital, the hospital’s obligation is to make sure the patient is safe. Studies have shown these numbers can easily be reduced with better hospital oversite - saving the patients and families trauma, and all of us the cost of care.
Making decisions about your medical care and treatment is very important, and possibly one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make in your life. When your doctor says you have a health problem such as cancer or you have another illness that needs surgery or a particular type of treatment, you have the right to know your treatment options and to understand them. When many people are told they have a life threatening illness, they feel they must make a decision and begin treatment as soon as possible. Although this may be true in some circumstances, generally you want to do research to learn about your disease and get a second and possibly even a third opinion....
4 Deaths Linked To Bacterial Infection At Pennsylvania Hospital
This week a Pennsylvania hospital disclosed there had been 4 deaths that might be linked to a bacterial organism contracted during open heart surgery.
There are as many as 1300 patients in the same hospital that may have been exposed to the same bacteria. The hospital has acknowledged that the infection was probably a contributing factor in the 4 deaths.
The bacteria is a non-tuberculous mycobacterium and appears to infect patients by escaping from the contaminated devices that heat or cool a patient during open heart surgery.
Another Superbug Outbreak
Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena announced in late August they are investigating the possibility of patients being infected with pseudomonas bacteria due to contaminated duodenoscopes made by Olympus. The hospital has been contacting those patients who might have been exposed to this superbug during an ERCP procedure (a fiber optic scope used to diagnose and treat conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and gall bladder).
Emergency Rooms (aka Emergency Departments) - Who's Minding the Store?
Our client’s husband was seen in Urgent Care, then in an Emergency Department the same day and died the next day from an undiagnosed acute lung condition. He never saw a physician. How could this have happened? Physician Extenders (often referred to as physician assistants) are being utilized on a more frequent basis in Emergency Departments, in fact, over 75% of Emergency Departments across the country utilize their services.
State law requires they be under the supervision of a physician, but the physician does not have to even be present in the room. Often a review of the chart by the physician is done after the patient has already been discharged.
Physician assistants often manage...
Potential Pitfalls of Social Media and Social Networking
The creation and evolution of social media and social networking sites have created a new debate within various areas of law, including medical malpractice, over what should and should not be considered “private.” Typically, any person involved in a medical malpractice or catastrophic injury case only has to produce documents and/or information that is directly relevant to their case, or anything that could lead to the discovery of relevant information.
Recently, we have seen an increase in the demands from opposing parties for us to provide our clients’ social media and social networking photographs and information. And not just their posts, but in some circumstances their log-in and password information as well!!
Is it truly...
Pregnancy Risks After 35 Years of Age
If a woman is over the age of 35 years old and becomes pregnant she is considered to be of “advanced maternal age”.
Becoming pregnant when older comes with some risks. These risks should be shared with pregnant mothers by their obstetrician, but many times are not.
We have 2 current wrongful life cases where pregnant mothers, both over 35 years old, were not made aware of any potential risks. Their obstetricians failed to refer them to a high risk obstetrician for consultation.
Both mothers should have been offered amniocentesis, which is the standard of care. This type of testing would have easily revealed the grossly apparent chromosomal abnormality in both cases. Both...
Patient Safety Grades in California Hospitals
Thirty-Seven Percent of California Hospitals Receive “C” Grade or Lower for Patient Safety
Risk of Electronic Health Records
Hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices of all types and sizes utilize electronic health records (EHRs) as a method of saving time and, presumably, money while caring for patients. They are also growing in popularity due to pressure from the government. In most cases, this technology works seamlessly. However, think of how many times you have experienced an error on your home computer, tablet or smartphone. When this happens to you, it is an annoyance — but when it happens in the medical setting, it can be catastrophic.
While hospitals and other institutions are quickly adopting EHRs for a variety of different reasons, when these new systems are more carefully examined, it can be seen that there exists...
Cooling Blankets to Help Prevent Brain Damage in Newborn Babies
Helping prevent brain damage in newborn babies is a lofty goal. What if a simple product, like a blanket, could make great strides in accomplishing this? For children born with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, better known as oxygen deprivation, the use of a simple cooling blanket in the first hours after birth could prevent some brain damage issues. Successful treatments could potentially allow the child to live a fuller, healthier life.
Having a Baby Riskier Than Assumed for American Women
The birth of a child is the most memorable experience for any parent. However, in many American hospitals, it is also the worst procedure you could have. Women who deliver babies in American hospitals actually experience far more complications than earlier believed.
Increase in Hospital-Acquired Superbug Infections
A number of hospitals across the country, including those in the southeastern part of the country, are struggling to contain infections caused by so-called superbugs.
Busier ERs Have Higher Survival Rates
The results of a new study seem to fly in the face of earlier findings suggested that overcrowded or stressed emergency departments have a much higher risk of medical errors. The new study finds au contraire, busy emergency departments actually have higher survival rates after a life-threatening illness or injury, compared to emergency departments that are not so busy.
In the study, researchers analyzed data involving 17.5 million patients who were treated at emergency departments at 3,000 hospitals across the country. They found the overall risk of fatality was approximately 10% lower among patients who went to the busiest emergency department rather than the less-busy one.
That surprising difference in survival rates was even higher...
Medicare to Penalize Hospitals for Patient Injuries
Hospitals, that have been the site of patient injuries and infections, will be penalized as Medicare moves to impose fines on facilities that have high infection and injury rates.
Over a one-year period, those penalties are expected to cost hospitals $330 million. Hospital-related infections and patient injuries are on the decline, but they're still not at a level that's acceptable to California medical malpractice lawyers. In fact, according to estimates by the government, in 2012, one out of every eight patients suffered an avoidable complication during a hospital stay.
While the rates of hospital-acquired infections, like central line-associated bloodstream infections, are on the decline, the declines are still not steep enough. They have not yet...
Overworked Nurses Are Neglected Healthcare Safety Risk
Nurses have an important role to play in reducing the risk of medical errors, however, far too many nurses complain of being constantly stressed, fatigued and overworked.
According to a disturbing new study conducted in Houston, many nurses report they lack support from management and often feel stressed out. According to the survey which included approximately 3,300 nurses, they have too little sleep at night. Only 17% of respondents said they slept at least 7 hours at night. 77% of the nurses also said their diet patterns were very irregular, and they were not able to eat on a regular basis.
Apart from physical health, work conditions did not seem to motivate nurses. According to...
Surgical Checklist Leads to Drop in Complications, but Not Mortality Risks
Experts highly recommend the use of surgical checklists just before a surgery, in order to help reduce the risk of potentially devastating, or even fatal errors. A new study finds the use of surgical checklists can lead to a drop in complication rates. However, they don't necessarily affect mortality rates.
The study was published recently in the Anesthesiology Journal. The review found the use of a surgical checklist reduced the rate of postoperative complications, however, the researchers were also surprised to find there was no corresponding increase in mortality rates.
The reviewers analyzed current literature to identify studies that specifically evaluated the impact of the use of surgical checklists on complication rates. About 37,339 patients...
Proper Staffing Can Help Reduce Medication Errors
Understaffing is a major contributor to medication errors every year. One hospital invested in increased staffing in order to help reduce the risk of medication errors and found the strategy was very successful.
According to a report by NPR, the Children's Medical Center in Dallas experimented by adding more pharmacists to its emergency department staff. The hospital hired extra pharmacists, who were in charge of going over each medication to be administered to the patient to ensure both the prescription as well as dose of the medication was correct. The hospital has several full-time emergency department pharmacists, who are available 24 hours a day. Every time a doctor puts in an order for a prescription drug, the...
Surgery, Hospital Admission Timing Can Impact Safety
If you are a patient due for surgery, you may want to avoid getting admitted into the hospital on weekends. You also want to avoid surgeries or hospital admissions during afternoons, and avoid surgery in February. According to two recent studies, patients who are admitted into a hospital on weekends, afternoons, and in the month of February, seem to have a much higher risk of dying after surgery.
The studies were presented recently at a European Society of Anesthesiology conference in Stockholm in Sweden. The study was based on data involving more than 219,000 patients who had undergone surgery between 2006 and 2011.
The study clearly found that the likelihood of death after surgery seemed...
California Hospitals Rank at Nine on Leapfrog Survey
More than 100 California hospitals scored a commendable A grade for patient safety recently. According to a report card released by Leapfrog Group, 104 California hospitals ranked an A.
The Leapfrog Group rates hospital safety performances at more than 2,500 hospitals across the United States. The Group rates hospital safety based on infection numbers, injury rates and medical and medication errors.
Overall, 804 hospitals across the country got an A grade. The Leapfrog Group report also finds that across the country, hospital performance has improved overall by 6.3% since 2012.
The report ranked California at number nine overall for patient safety, based on the number of hospitals receiving a grade for patient safety....
VA Scandal Spreads to More Hospitals
The scandal at the Department Of Veterans Affairs alleging hospitals used a secret wait list to cover up the unacceptably long time patients had to wait to receive treatment, has spread to many other facilities across the country. As many as 26 facilities now will come under the microscope as more reports of cover-ups emerge.
There have been reports of falsified records and treatment delays at VA facilities in Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Missouri and Florida. The scandal has already alerted the federal administration, and the President has already called for a national investigation into these allegations of misconduct. Individuals, who are found guilty of misconduct, will face punishment.
The scandal first broke at a...
Federal Data Shows Drop in Hospital Readmission, Infection Rates
New data released by the federal Department Of Health And Human Services indicates there has been a decline in the number of hospital readmissions, as well as the number of hospital-acquired infections across the country's hospitals. The data indicates hospital strategies to reduce medical negligence are working, helping prevent as many as 15,000 fatalities across the country's hospitals in 2011 and 2012.
According to the data, the incidence of hospital-acquired infections actually dropped from 145 for every 1000 patient discharges in 2010, to 132 for every 1000 patient discharges in 2012. There were 560,000 fewer incidences of hospital -acquired infections in American hospitals. That indicates tremendous progress has been made in reducing the risk of preventable infections....
Management Programs May Actually Increase Medical Errors
Many hospitals have adopted a safety promotion strategy that involves senior managers visiting hospital departments in an attempt to boost the safety climate and reduce medical errors. However, such strategies, although well-intentioned, may not always have the highest rate of success. According to new research by Howard researchers, the success of such techniques depends very heavily on their approach.
The technique is called Management-by-Walking-around, and it is a widely adopted technique in many hospitals these days. Under the strategy, senior managers visit hospitals in an effort to encourage ideas for improvements in patient safety and resolve safety challenges. However, such management walkabouts actually may do more harm than good.
The study was conducted by...
Identifying Causes of Birth Brain Injury Could Prevent Complications
Infant birth brain injury is linked to cerebral palsy, long term cognitive and mental impairment and other conditions. There are a number of causes of infant brain injury, from lack of oxygen to errors in instrumentation use. Doctors now believe identifying the cause of birth brain injury could help them develop prevention strategies to prevent these injuries.
Those guidelines were released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines have been published in the recent issue of the Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Pediatrics journals.
The two groups have released updated guidelines on neonatal encephalopathy, also known as newborn birth brain injury. The guidelines advise...
High Surgical Skills Equal Lower Complication Rates
A new study links highly skilled surgeons with lower complication rates post-surgery. The study which was conducted by researchers at the University Of Michigan Health System found surgeons who were rated very highly by their peers for their skills actually had lower rates of surgical complications involving patients after the operation, compared to surgeons who were not rated that well.
In the study, more than 20,000 bariatric surgeons were rated by their peers, and the rate of surgical complications associated with these surgeons was analyzed. The rate of post-surgical complications in 10,343 patients who had undergone laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery was analyzed to understand the association between high skill sets and complication rates.
Hospital Bloodstream Infection Treatments Are Ineffective
Bloodstream infections are some of the deadliest infections patients can contract in a hospital setting. According to a new study, often hospitals fail to treat such infections appropriately with antibiotic treatment.
The results of the study were published recently in the Journal PLOs One and focused on the identification of bloodstream infections in hospitals and appropriate treatment. However, the study found there were differences in treatment in community hospitals and specialized care hospitals.
The study found it has become harder for hospitals to treat patients who develop bloodstream infections, because of the increase in the number and types of antibiotic-resistant superbug. As part of the study, researchers analyzed approximately 1,500 patients who contracted bloodstream infections...
Informed Patients May Have Safer Surgeries
When it comes to avoiding or preventing surgical risks and complications, there is only so much a patient can do. However, as an informed, educated and aware patient, you have a much better chance of taking charge of your care and reducing the risk of complications.
Experts suggest a person who is due for surgery ask questions about the surgeon’s qualifications before the procedure. For example, far too many patients are aware surgeons must preferably be board-certified which means they are qualified to perform certain types of surgeries. Certification is recognized by the Board as well as the national body for that specialty, and confirms the surgeon has met all the important criteria to perform such surgeries....
Too Many Hospitals Fail to Use Checklists
Far too many hospitals are functioning without any infection control policy that specifically requires the implementation of an ICU checklist. Even the hospitals that do have some kind of policy requiring the use of a checklist do not bother to make sure staff are complying with these regularly.
Those are the disturbing findings of a new study by researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing. The research found as many as one out of every 10 intensive care units had no checklist in place to prevent dangerous hospital-acquired infections like central line-associated bloodstream infections. Ventilator-associated pneumonia is one of the most dangerous hospital-acquired infections, and as one as many as one in four hospitals had no checklist...
Nurse Workload Linked To Surgical Errors
Patients undergoing surgery in a hospital may be much more likely to suffer surgical errors and complications resulting in a fatality, if the nurses in the hospital do not have bachelor’s degrees in nursing, or are overworked and overstressed. Those findings come from a study conducted in Europe and published recently in The Lancet Journal. According to the findings, there is a very clear association between surgical outcomes, and the quality of nurses as well as the workload of nurses in a hospital.
Nurse Education Levels, Workload Linked to Surgical Errors
The researchers suggest in their study that a safe level of nursing staff in the hospital might help reduce the risk of surgical mortality....
Study Finds Deliveries at Home Much More Dangerous Than Hospital Births
According to a new study, babies delivered at home in a home birth are approximately 4 times more likely to suffer a neonatal fatality, compared to babies that are delivered in a hospital. The findings of the study were presented recently at a meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
California medical malpractice lawyers have found a significant increase in the number of home deliveries in the United States over the last 10 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those rates increased by 29% between 2004 and 2009.
For the study, the researchers used data from more than 14 million births and found the risk of maternal mortality was approximately 3.2...
Modified Hospital Dress Codes Could Reduce Infection Risks
In the battle against hospital-acquired infections, experts are now focusing on a hitherto neglected source of contamination- clothes worn by hospital staff, including doctors and nurses. According to new guidance that was released recently by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, dozens of studies now seem to suggest dirty, or contaminated hospital gear might be responsible for spreading some very dangerous disease-causing pathogens in a hospital.
The link between hospital worker clothing and dangerous pathogens has not been conclusively established, but there have been several studies conducted earlier that have suggested pathogens can be transmitted from the contaminated clothing of doctors and nurses. When a doctor with contaminated clothing is attending to a weak and sick...
Report Identifies Alarm Fatigue as Top Healthcare risk
A list of the top 10 medical technology hazards identified by the Emergency Care Research Institute and released recently identifies alarm fatigue in hospitals, as the biggest health technology risk today.
Alarm fatigue is the name given to a phenomenon in which nurses may simply become desensitized to the vast number of alarms that frequently go off in the work environment. In a modern hospital, alarms alert nurses to every tiny change in a patient's medical condition, and when a nurse in a busy hospital environment hears alarms going off every few seconds, there is a risk of becoming desensitized to these alerts. Over a period of time, many of these alerts may be ignored to the...
Many Anesthesiology Residents at Risk of Substance Abuse
Substance use among doctors is a much neglected problem, and nobody wants to talk about doctors who may become addicted to drugs that they have easy access to in the course of their practice. However, according to a new study, anesthesiology residents may struggle with a much higher risk for becoming addicted to substances.
According to the results of a study that were published recently by researchers at Mayo Clinic and the American Board of Anesthesiology, approximately one out of every 100 anesthesiology residents in training between 1975 and 2009, developed substance addiction during the training period. In fact, according to the researchers, the incidence of such substance abuse and addiction among anesthesiology residents is actually high,...
Mild Oxygen Deprivation at Birth Linked to Development Delays
According to a new study, a lack of oxygen at birth does not have to result in a severe brain injury for the baby to suffer from developmental delays and brain damage. Even a mild lack of oxygen during or around the birth can actually cause a significant amount of damage.
The research was conducted by scientists at the University College Cork and analyzed newborn babies, who had experienced hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. This is a condition in which the brain of the baby is deprived of oxygen around the time of birth. The researchers found even in those cases where the oxygen deprivation was at very low levels, the baby still suffered from developmental delays and mental...
Enhanced Patient Handoff Procedures Can Help Reduce Medical Errors
Many medical errors that occur in hospitals every year occur during patient handoffs. According to a new study, many medical errors that occur in American hospitals every year can be reduced by improving communication to enhance existing patient handoff procedures.
The study was published recently in The Journal of the American Medical Association and finds very often, lack of communication during these handoff procedures are responsible for potentially serious medical errors. The study finds that miscommunication between providers and staff members leads to medical errors, and often, these errors can be serious enough to compromise patient safety. The research team which consisted of doctors at Boston Children's Hospital designed a special and innovative handoff system to reduce...
More Than 30% of Robotic Surgery Injuries Caused due to Operator Error
An increasing number of hospitals have begun to offer robotic surgery or robot-assisted surgeries across the United States, as the advantages of using robotic devices in surgeries have become apparent. While there are a number of advantages to using robotic surgeons -lesser bleeding, quicker recovery time period-the fact is also there have been far too many incidents involving injuries caused by robots during surgery.
A new study that was presented recently at a gynecological conference finds many of these errors are caused due to operator error or system malfunctioning, and may not have much to do with the technology itself. The data came from an analysis of robotic surgery-related injuries that occurred between 2006 and 2012. The...
Drop in Hospital-Acquired Infections in California
There has been a slight decrease in the number of hospital-acquired infections reported across California. According to data was recently released by the California Department of Public Health, there was a drop in the number of healthcare infections reported in the state between 2011 and 2012.
California hospitals saw a 5% decline in the number of central line -associated bloodstream infections that occurred during this period of time. There was also a 6% drop in the number of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA bloodstream infections during the same period of time. The drops in these infections are especially significant because they happen to be some of the deadliest and most difficult-to-treat infections recorded in California hospitals....
Quality of Pediatric ICU Nurses Affects Mortality Risk
According to a new study, the quality of nursing staff in a pediatric ICU significantly impacts the mortality risk of pediatric patients undergoing surgery.
The study analyzed the effect of nursing education and experience on the outcomes of patients who had undergone pediatric cardiac surgery. Approximately 20,407 pediatric surgery patients, who had been operated on to correct a birth heart defect, were analyzed as part of the study. The results of the study were published recently in the Journal of Nursing Administration. Pediatric cardiac surgery is one of the more common pediatric surgeries, because congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects in newborns.The research specifically focused on pediatric surgery, because these surgery patients...
Surgical Object Retention Incidents Far Too Common
In spite of increased focus on helping reduce surgical errors, especially extremely preventable ones like leaving behind foreign objects in the patient's body during surgery, these incidents are far too common. According to the results of a new study released recently, these are extremely preventable problems and are occurring far too often.
According to The Joint Commission, which is a healthcare industry watchdog group, hospitals must take more steps to avoid surgical complication incidents involving retained surgical items. These complications arise when surgical objects, including knives, scalpels, sponges and needles or other implements are left behind in a patient's body. This is a problem that has the potential to cause not just serious complications, but also the...
ICU Patients at High Risk for Cognitive Impairment
Hospital patients who spend a long period of time in intensive care units may suffer from long-term cognitive impairments and mental deficits, as a result of the sedation in the intensive care unit. According to a new study published recently in the New England Journal Of Medicine, as many as 80% of patients who stayed in the hospital intensive care unit for a long period of time, displayed cognitive problems even a year or more after they returned home from the hospital.
The study does seem to indicate to California medical malpractice lawyers there are long-term consequences from such long-term intensive care hospitalization. More than 50% of the patients in the study also showed mental deficits that...
Surgical Complication Risks Higher for Older Minorities
Older patients, who also happen to be black or Hispanic, are much more likely to suffer from surgical complications, compared to white seniors.
New research recently tried to identify the rate of complications and narrowed down 13 common types of complications. The researchers analyzed more than 587,000 white, black and Hispanic patients in the age group of 65 and above. All of these patients had undergone surgery.
According to the study, black patients were approximately 3 times more likely to develop 12 of the surgical complications that were analyzed as part of the study. In the case of Hispanic patients, the rate of complications was twice as high as that of white patients at an...
40 Million Medical Error Cases Result in Harm Every Year
Across the globe, as many as 40 million cases of medical errors result in patient harm every year. Those findings come from the results of a new review that analyzed more than 4,000 articles, involving care given in hospitals across the world.
The review of these studies focused on seven key aspects of poor care, including catheter-associated bloodstream infections, hospital-acquired pneumonia, urinary tract infections, medication errors, hospital falls, blood clots and bed sores.
The review found for every 100-hospital admissions across the globe, there are approximately 14 cases of substandard care that are recorded in high-income countries like the United States. The number of cases involving harm to patients in hospitals is much higher in...
Surgical Care Linked Directly to Hospital Readmission Rates
A study confirms the quality of medical care patients receive when they are admitted to a hospital is the main predictor of their readmission risk.
According to new research conducted at Harvard School of Public Health, improving the quality of initial surgical care can do a lot to help reduce the rates of readmissions and the costs associated with such hospital readmissions. Patients readmitted to the hospital within one month of being discharged cost the American economy billions of dollars every year.
There has been plenty of research into ways to reduce the rates of readmissions. However, the new study which involved nearly 5,000 patients who were discharged after they had undergone major surgery also...
Hospital-Acquired Infections Cost Economy $10 Billion Annually
Some of the most common hospital-acquired infections in American hospitals take a catastrophic financial toll on the American healthcare system. Data indicate these infections cost approximately $10 billion every year to treat.
According to the data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 20 patients who are admitted to a hospital will pick up a hospital-acquired infection. Some of the most deadly infections include central line-associated bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections and pneumonia. These infections can be life-threatening, and very often, are entirely preventable.
Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers find there is a very high financial cost attached to these infections. The data compiled by researchers from Harvard suggests the...
Many Primary Doctor Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Linked to Misdiagnosis, Medication Errors
Most of the medical malpractice lawsuits that attract the attention of the media involve specialist surgeons like oncologists or orthopedic surgeons. However, many medical malpractice lawsuits involve not specialists, but primary care doctors. A new study finds most of the medical malpractice claims against primary doctors are the result of misdiagnosis or medication errors.
The findings came from a review of more than 34 earlier studies that were conducted over the past two years. The results of the review were published in the Journal BMG. At least 15 of these studies were conducted inside the United States.
According to the research, between 7.6% and 16% of all medical malpractice claims involve primary-care doctors. Those numbers...
Equipment Failures Accounted for 25% of All Surgical errors
Efforts aimed at reducing the number of surgical errors may need to focus more on prevention of equipment malfunctioning. According to new research, as many as one in four surgical errors can be linked to technology or equipment malfunction or failures.
The study, which was published recently in the Journal BMJ Quality and Safety, found out of the 15 errors that occur on an average in surgery, approximately a quarter or 24% are linked to technology failures. The data indicates such technology failures are a very substantial factor driving the number of surgical errors in the year. In fact, high-risk procedures like cardiac surgeries were found to have much higher rates of surgical errors, because these surgeries...
Experts Warn of Patient Risks from Cancer Overdiagnosis
An aggressive policy of over-diagnosis of cancer has led to many patients being treated stringently and aggressively even for minor conditions that may be in the premalignant stage and may pose no threat to their safety. According to experts, such over-diagnosis can have devastating health consequences.
The experts warning about over-diagnosis are advisors to the National Cancer Institute, and their thoughts were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The commentary has generated a lot of interest, especially among California medical malpractice lawyers as well as the medical community that stringently works towards diagnosing and over treating even the most minor conditions that pose no threat to patients.
According to the experts,...
Orthopedic Surgeons More Likely to Suffer Symptoms of Burnout
California medical malpractice attorneys don’t doubt burnout is a vastly underestimated and neglected issue in our hospitals. It is very concerning because such levels of burnout and stress have the ability to seriously and negatively impact patient safety. A recent study conducted by Australian researchers found orthopedic surgeons were at a much higher risk of suffering burnout, compared to other doctors.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of NSW, and found among orthopedic surgeons, burnout levels were in the staggering 50% to 60% range. Among general doctors, burnout levels were between 30% and 40%.
There is a very high-risk of surgical errors involving such orthopedic surgeons. The researchers also believe such high...
Strategies to Ensure Top Patient Safety
The incidence of some of the more serious patient safety issues affecting American patients in hospitals including wrong site, wrong procedure and wrong patient surgery, surgical item retention, medication errors and pressure injuries, can be reduced by using appropriate safety strategies. Recently, experts published a list of 30 different patient safety strategies that can be used to address the top 10 patient safety issues compiled by members of the Association of Preoperative Registered Nurses.
The experts have suggested strategies to deal with each of these patient safety issues suggested by the nursing group. For instance, the strategies recently published in the AORN Journal suggest a collaboration between nurses and representatives from the surgeon's office in order to...
Spike in Number of Amniotic Fluid Infections over 15 Years
Premature births and infant illnesses has doubled over a 15-year period. The incidence of the condition which is called Chorioamnionitis doubled between 1995 and 2010.
The study was conducted by Kaiser Permanente Southern California and published in the International Journal of Reproductive Medicine recently.
The research was based on more than 471,000 single-child births at Kaiser Permanente facilities across Southern California between 1995 and 2010. The research found the incidence of amniotic fluid infections or chorioamnionitis increased from 2.7% of all births between 1995 and 1996, to a staggering 6% of all births between 2009 and 2010. That was an increase of 126% over 15 years.
There were variations in the spike, depending...
Increased Risk of Fatalities Involving Weekend Surgery
Patients who undergo elective surgery over the weekend are at a higher risk of dying from surgical complications, compared to those who undergo surgery on a weekday. The results of a new analysis published in the British Medical Journal indicates weekend patients are up to 82% more likely to die after their surgery, compared to patients who have the surgery on a Monday.
The key to this staggeringly high rate of fatalities after surgery during a weekend could be the levels of postoperative care after the surgery. The quality of care after the surgery is critical in the days after the operation. In fact, the first 48 hours after surgery are considered extremely important for surgery patients....
Patient Satisfaction Not Reliable Indicator of Care
In a new trend, many hospital ratings focus on patient satisfaction as an indicator of the level of care at the facility. However, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers attests there may be little correlation between the two. The study finds patient satisfaction may be an important factor in the perception of the hospital’s dedication to service quality, but not a major factor in care.
The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the findings were presented online in JAMA Surgery. The researchers believe it is important to track patient satisfaction in health care settings, but the actual kind of care the patient receives is quite independent of this...
Misdiagnosis Contributes to Bulk of Medical Malpractice Payouts
Wrong diagnosis was the leading factor in medical malpractice lawsuit payouts over a 25-year period in the United States. The data comes from researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The study provides California medical malpractice lawyers firm evidence of the need for greater focus on preventing diagnostic errors to reduce medical errors.
The results of the study were published recently in BMJ Quality and Safety. The study finds over the past 25 years, more than $39 billion have been paid out in medical malpractice claim settlements. The researchers analyzed a total of more than 350,000 claims and found that diagnostic errors accounted for the lion's share of all medical malpractice payouts....
Rate of Hospital Errors May Be Ten Times Greater Than Previously Thought, Affecting 1 in 3 Patients
According to a number of recent studies, adverse events in hospitals are actually far more commonplace than previously thought – in fact, statistics indicate medical errors affect 1 in 3 hospitalized patients.
In one analysis of data, it was determined almost 900,000 people died as a result of medical mistakes in 2008, claiming more lives in the United States than illness or disease.
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, an independent not-for-profit organization that studies injury rates in hospitals, found 40 to 50 incidents of harm occur for every 100 hospital admissions. That equates to 15 million patients suffering adverse events out of the approximately 37 million who are admitted to hospitals each year. In addition...
New Study Indicates Hospitals Profit From Surgical Errors
According to new findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, hospitals that make surgical errors actually see an increase in their profit margins due to the longer hospital stays and additional medical care necessitated by such mistakes.
The study examined more than 34,000 people who had surgery in 2010 at one of the Texas Health Resources group’s dozen hospitals. The hospital saw a 330 percent increase in profits from privately insured patients who experienced complications related to surgical errors, and a 190 percent increase in profits from patients with Medicare who suffered error-related complications. Dr. Barry Rosenberg, a co-author of the study, stated, “This research provides dramatic evidence that hospitals lack financial incentives to...
“Alarm Fatigue” Is The Cause Of Patient Deaths
The Joint Commission has released a set of safety guidelines for health care providers who may be suffering from “alarm fatigue” due to the constant beeping of medical devices, such as blood pressure, heart rate monitors and similar devices. The lack of standardization of a beep’s meaning and the abundance of such devices has created an atmosphere in which hospital workers are confused by – or oblivious to – the alerts, resulting in injuries and deaths.
According to the FDA’s Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database, more than 500 alarm-related patient deaths were reported between 2005 and 2010. In addition to “alarm fatigue” and inaudible alarms, contributing factors in such incidents include improper alarm settings, equipment...
Reduced Hours for Resident Doctors Hasn't Led to Drop in Medical Errors
Since 2011, many medical residents have been benefiting from fewer hours at work, as concerns about fatigued medical residents making medical errors, rose. However, an analysis of the data since then seems to indicate the fewer hours for doctors in training hasn’t necessarily enhanced patient safety, or reduced the number of medical errors.
In 2003, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education ruled trainee doctors could work for a maximum of 24 consecutive hours. In 2011, the rules cut down those hours even further.
However, new data been published in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal finds doctors, who are now working fewer hours, are not necessarily reporting fewer mistakes. In fact, these interns are reporting...
Cord Blood Experiment Found Effective in Reversing Infant Brain Injury
Australian researchers, who have been working on a stem cell therapy to reverse brain damage in infants to combat cerebral palsy, have reported some success with these techniques. According to the researchers in Melbourne, they have been able to stop, and even reverse, brain damage in baby lambs that had suffered brain injury.
Researchers from the Monash Institute of Medical Research are now planning an expansion of these cord blood studies to discover the type of stem cells that can be effective in helping reverse the damage.
Cerebral palsy is a condition which is caused by oxygen deprivation or a shortage of oxygen supply to the brain during birth. California birth injury lawyers find this...