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Study Finds that Hospitals Fail to Perform All Required Tests

Published on Aug 20, 2012 at 7:33 am in Medical Malpractice.

Louisville Hospital Malpractice InjuryA new study, published in an Australian Medical Journal, has found that more than one-third of all hospital patients are discharged before tests that have been ordered by physicians have been performed. In many other cases, the results of tests that had been performed were never read by physicians. Sadly, in one of seven of those instances, the tests that were ordered and not performed may have revealed abnormalities.

Physicians note that patients should be aware of what tests have been ordered so that they can discuss them with their care providers prior to being discharged. The Australian study reviewed the medical records of 6,700 patients. Some of the tests missed were routine and were not seen as pressing. In other cases, the ordered test had been performed, but the results had not been reviewed. Of these cases, the results still had not been reviewed more than two months later, this according to an article in the archives of Internal Medicine.

Study Shows Electronic Records May Cause Fewer Medical Malpractice Claims

Published on Jul 11, 2012 at 8:36 am in Medical Malpractice.

A new study reveals that medical malpractice claims significantly dipped for a group of Massachusetts physicians after they began using electronic records, according to a U.S. News report. Electronic records, or e-records, allow physicians to utilize computers to track patients rather than relying on paper files. Supporters of this advanced form of record keeping assert that it cuts down on errors by making it easier for doctors to spot potential problems, such as medication conflicts. E-records may also make it easier for physicians to communicate with patients and other physicians. The medical world has not been quick to embrace e-records, largely because of the cost of switching from paper, and some physicians feel that e-records may create new kinds of errors and problems for patients.

The study tracked malpractice cases for 275 physicians who were surveyed by researchers in 2005 and 2007. Of those surveyed, 33 were targeted for malpractice claims, and 49 of the malpractice claims took place before the physicians adopted electronic health records and only two occurred after. The study’s researchers approximate that medical malpractice claims were about 84 percent less likely after electronic records were put in place, though presently it’s not clear if the electronic recordkeeping was linked to the decline in claims. A co-author of the study does feel that the research shows that e-records can improve safety and quality, in turn reducing the risk of a malpractice claim.

Jury Finds Physicians Liable in Baby Decapitation Lawsuit

Published on Oct 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm in Medical Malpractice.

The Courier-Journal reports that a jury awarded $1.4 million to a mother who filed suit against two physicians who delivered her premature baby in 2006. During the delivery, one of the physicians struggled to dislodge the baby’s head from the mother’s body. He testified that he tried several different angles before he finally felt the head “give.” When the baby was born, it was decapitated.

The lawsuit also included members of the nursing staff who cared for the mother, as well as the hospital where the incident occurred. One of the key points used by the defense was the fact that the baby would have died no matter what the physicians did, as the mother was only 21 weeks along. The plaintiff’s attorneys contested that the mother was 24 weeks along, which means the baby might have lived had the doctors performed their duties correctly.

Heat Stroke Kills Teen Allegedly Denied Medical Care at Jefferson County Hospital

Published on Jul 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm in Medical Malpractice.

A teen has died of heat stroke at a Jefferson County hospital after allegedly being denied medical care, according to a report by The Courier-Journal. The young man had been working outside doing landscaping work in the extreme heat that has been oppressing the Louisville area recently. According to the boy’s step-father, who was working with him, the boy complained of being hot and appeared disoriented. He was taken to an Immediate Care Center. The step-father says a worker from the Center came out with a wheelchair but told him that there was nothing they could do for the boy and that he needed to go to a hospital emergency room. The step-father then called 911 and although emergency workers arrived quickly and transported the boy to a nearby hospital, he died an hour after arriving. His body temperature was measured at 110 degrees, causing muscles and cells to die and the brain and organs to become damaged.

The staff at the Immediate Care Center offers a different version of the story. They claim that the step-father came into the center and described symptoms of heat-related illness in his step-son. They then informed the step-father that they were unable to administer intravenous fluids and that the patient should go to the hospital. According to them, the step-father did not adequately convey the urgency of the situation.

Kentucky Senate Bill 72 Calls for Hospital-Acquired Infections State Reports

Published on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:59 am in Medical Malpractice.

Is it possible that almost one in 20 patients acquire an infection while staying at a hospital? While this may seem shocking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently made this estimation about hospital-acquired infections.

Most Kentuckians are probably aware of Senate Bill 72, which would make it a requirement for Kentucky hospitals to report all infections as well as put infection prevention programs into practice for areas such as surgical and intensive care units. The legislature is expected to reconvene on February 1.