As hospitals and doctors in Rhode Island make the switch from paper records to electronic health records systems - otherwise known as EHRS -- it is important for them to understand the impact that errors with these systems can have on patient care. The information recently gathered from a study may be of assistance to companies building these systems, as well as to hospitals and clinics implementing them.
We all have a right to quality medical care regardless of our station in life or whether we are homeless in Rhode Island or elsewhere. When you or a loved one go to an emergency room for diagnosis and treatment of a medical condition, you have a right to expect to be treated with dignity and respect and for your medical symptoms to heard. That was not the case for one woman who arrived at a health center only to be arrested for refusing to leave the facility until her severe pain was treated.
The 2005 federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act is a federal law that encourages physicians, pharmacies and hospitals to report medical errors and related information to organizations involved in patient safety by shielding these reports from becoming exposed publically. Now two unrelated cases in another state are questioning the law's reach and the outcome could affect other states, including Rhode Island.
Four years ago, a young woman lost her father to an infection he contracted while in Rhode Island Hospital for esophageal cancer. Now that young woman wants to spread the word about the dangers of hospital infections and specifically the condition known as sepsis. Her father died after going into septic shock twice, the second time proved fatal. The family was told by doctors that the man beat the cancer and had a new lease on life. Doctors recommended the 48-year-old man undergo surgery to remove the part of his esophagus that had been infected by the cancer.
Most doctors and physicians in Rhode Island and around the country fully understand the medical liability risks their practice presents, but there are events that can occur that will not fall under the general definition of medical malpractice, and thus may not be covered under ordinary malpractice insurance. Take for example a case recently discussed in an industry publication where a family sued a hospital and several of its staff members claiming medical negligence after their newborn child suffered a brain injury due to a case of jaundice that went untreated.
Rhode Island residents who have undergone surgery or know someone who has may be interested in this latest study which claims that post-op patients recovering from surgery should expect upwards of four or five medical procedural mistakes during their hospital recovery. And even more alarming - half of the mistakes have the potential to cause them serious harm. Although the study was not conducted in the United States, one U.S. doctor who specializes in patient safety said the study's findings are symbolic of what transpires in teaching hospitals in the U.S.
Erb's Palsy is a common birth injury a child can sustain which can be avoided with proper medical care and treatment during the delivery. Erb's Palsy or brachial plexus dystocia is an injury caused by trauma to the brachial plexus, which involves damage to the nerve tissue of the baby's upper arms and shoulders. It is completely avoidable if the medical staff identifies complications that arise during delivery and take the necessary steps to avoid harming the baby during the childbirth process.
Injuries and fatalities resulting from medical negligence are both preventable and unacceptable. The consequences of medical malpractice can be devastating, especially considering that malpractice is characterized by failure to administer a level of care that physicians are fully capable of employing.
Radiation serves many purposes in medicine. It is used for tracing broken bones, lung lesions, heart defects, tumors and is treatment for cancer. However, overexposure to radiation due to medical negligence or medical necessity can also cause damage to DNA, which may ultimately result in cancer after 10 to 20 years.
Some hospitals devote a tremendous amount of time and resources to prevent medical errors and improve the overall quality of patient care. However, others appear to be more negligent when it comes to ensuring patient safety. A new report of hospital safety rankings suggests that the importance of patient safety can vary greatly from state to state.