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Experienced Injury Lawyers

Hospital Misses E. Coli – Four-Year-Old Dies

Published on Sep 22, 2014 at 1:14 pm in Medical Malpractice.

A four-year-old girl died last week in Portland, Oregon after becoming stricken with E. coli that went undiagnosed for days. The family has hired a lawyer to take action against their local hospital that twice sent the girl home without testing for E. coli.

Stricken after Labor Day

The girl’s family and another family spent Labor Day together. While the source of the E. coli is not yet known, a five-year-old boy who was with their group also has E. coli and is in critical condition at a hospital in Tacoma, Washington. The two children shared a turkey sandwich at a restaurant, and also swam in a pond together – both are possible sources, but experts say the actual source may never be found.

After the four-year-old complained of stomach cramps and had a fever, the family took her to their local hospital on the Oregon Coast, Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City on Wednesday, Sept. 3. The hospital sent her home that day with a diagnosis of rotavirus, and told the family to take her to a pediatrician for follow-up the next day. The chart notes from the first visit show that the doctor wondered if it was E. coli; they did take a stool sample, but never ordered the E. coli test.

Medicare Stops Reporting Some Hospital Errors

Published on Sep 8, 2014 at 8:20 am in Medical Malpractice.

In a move that seems confusing to say the least, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has stopped publicly reporting when hospitals leave foreign objects in patients, along with other serious mistakes.

These errors are part of a list of what are called “Hospital-Acquired Conditions” (HACs) which are considered preventable. According to CMS, Hospital-Acquired Conditions are “conditions that patients did not have when they were admitted to the hospital, but which developed during the hospital stay. “

The government-operated Hospital Compare website lists how often many HACs occurred at acute care hospitals, where patients stay up to 25 days recovering from serious injuries or illnesses. USA Today has reported that last summer, CMS removed the data on leaving foreign objects and seven other HACs from the Hospital Compare website. CMS did leave the data on another site, in a format available to those who knew what the reporting meant. Then, as of August of this year, the data on those eight HACs is no longer available anywhere. According to USA Today, “Now researchers have to calculate their own rates using claims data.”

Hospital Charges Increasing Higher than Inflation Rate

Published on Aug 21, 2014 at 8:51 am in Medical Malpractice.

For the second year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released data showing what hospitals charge Medicare for their services. The numbers reveal important information for consumers, and show that hospital charges are increasing – some much faster than the rate of inflation.

The list of charges, called the “Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data,” is produced from the CMS Office of Information Products & Data Analytics (OIPDA). It is drawn from 2012 data from nearly 3,400 hospitals that take payment for inpatient acute care services under the Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS). Together, these hospitals comprise 92% of all hospital inpatient discharges.

Disparity in Prices

Hospitals have long resisted publication of their billing rates – having this information made public allows consumers – and the government — now to compare and see that sometimes hospital charges have little to do with quality of care. Although Medicare only pays a fixed amount per procedure, regardless of what a hospital charges, knowing a hospital’s actual billing rate is very illuminating.

Kentucky Hospitals Likely Facing Medicare Penalties

Published on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:24 am in Medical Malpractice.

Hospital Malpractice AttorneysStarting this fall, the Medicare program will start penalizing hospitals that have high rates of infections and preventable injuries. As part of the Affordable Care Act, all eligible hospitals will be ranked and those falling in the bottom 25%, Medicare billings will only be paid at 99% — resulting in a 1% penalty for the fiscal year. Hospitals will be reassessed annually, and the criteria are likely to expand.

Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program

Called the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, the penalties are expected to add up to $330 million over a year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted a preliminary assessment that placed 761 hospitals in the lowest-quartile penalty zone.

The scores were based on the rates of infections in patients with catheters in major veins and bladders. Also included were rates of eight patient injuries, such as blood clots, bed sores, and accidental falls.

J&J Suspends use of Blading Procedure in Laparoscopic Surgeries

Published on Jun 30, 2014 at 8:55 am in Medical Malpractice.

Medical Malpractice AttorneyIn late April, Johnson & Johnson announced it was suspending sales of its morcellator device used for laparoscopic hysterectomies and myomectomies. This action came soon after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication about the device used to remove uterine fibroids. Some are already arguing that J&J should go further and recall the product.

The J&J products being suspended are all sold by its Ethicon division. They are:

  • Gynecare Morcellex Tissue Morcellator,
  • Morcellex Sigma Tissue Morcellator System, and the
  • Gynecare X-Tract Tissue Morcellator

Johnson & Johnson issued a statement saying that it was suspending sales of these devices “while the role of morcellation for patients with symptomatic fibroid disease is redefined by the FDA and the medical community.”