Injured Old Man

20 Years Later: Healthcare is Failing, and Medical Errors are Rising

The highly received report To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System is now 20 years old, and unfortunately, not enough lessons have been learned to prevent known medical mistakes. Experts recently spoke with HealthLeaders reporters and shared concerns that patient safety is still largely in question as patient deaths due to medical errors now round out around 444,000 lives each year, an increase from 98,000 at the time the 1999 report was made. By those numbers, it remains obvious that advancements to keep patients safe from preventable injuries is still needed.

On November 27, 2019, the experts interviewed by HealthLeaders raised these stifling conclusions related to medical error trends and the rise in deaths resulting from a lack of patient safety in the American healthcare system.

Levin Perconti - Elderly Man Against the World

Understanding How Illinois Law Applies in FTCA Malpractice Suits

Medical malpractice can happen to a patient at any stage – during diagnosis, treatment, procedures and surgery, recovery, or even at a simple office visit. It can also occur while being a patient at any medical facility, including a government-run health system such as a Veterans Affairs hospital. But medical malpractice claims against the U.S. Government (and its agents) is complex and involves The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). FTCA is a federal statute that provides a broad waiver of sovereign immunity, effectively allowing people the opportunity to pursue a personal injury (or tort) claim, and for plaintiffs to sue the United States for things such as negligence committed by individuals employed by the government.

To file a federal tort claim and seek compensation in Illinois, you must demonstrate these three things:

Medical records and Stethoscope

Determining Who Is at Fault for Medical Record Errors and Medical Identify Theft

An Advocate Christ Medical Center patient is speaking out after he says the hospital sent him someone else’s medical records and his insurer declared fraud. The hospital located in Oak Lawn, Illinois, released a statement to CBS Chicago declaring “Protecting patient privacy is one of our top priorities. We are taking this seriously and conducting a thorough review.”

The patient, identified as Darnell Payne, told the Chicago news outlet that he requested his medical records in hopes to release them to his insurer. He later was notified by his insurer that his claim was fraudulent because the files that were released belonged to a different patient and did not support his request for coverage or payment.

medical malpractice facts
According to a study by Johns Hopkins University, medical malpractice is now the third-leading cause of death in the United States, and on average, 250,000 people die from medical malpractice, surgical errors and mistakes each year and the numbers continue to rise.

Data from 2009 to 2018 collected by the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), an exhaustive government database of all medical malpractice reports and payments in the United States, concludes these alarming facts.

  1. The average payout for a medical malpractice lawsuit in the past ten years was $309,908

levin perconti newborn illness

Ongoing Bacterial Infection Kills 3 Pennsylvania Preemies

At Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania, three infants have died, and five others have become ill in the neonatal intensive care (NICU) unit since July 2019. A waterborne bacterial infection, which is preventable, is to blame. The children were born prematurely with weakened immune systems. They all became ill once infected by the pseudomonas bacteria, a common strain found in hospital settings when the hands of healthcare workers or contaminated equipment are not adequately cleaned. Patients, such as those infants in the NICU who require breathing machines, are potentially at risk for serious, life-threatening infections related to the bacteria.

A hospital official said that Geisinger has taken “extensive measures” to stop the infection from spreading, including “achieving optimal chlorination in water lines, improving and maintaining vigilance in donor breast milk processing, routine tap water cultures, increased deep cleaning of our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and many others.”

L&P - Breast Cancer Month

What If A Doctor Failed to Diagnose Your Breast Cancer?

Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers estimate that medical error, including failure to diagnose, is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. And in many cases, medical conditions such as breast cancer are treatable when caught early but failing to diagnose or treat can often lead to further injury or death. With today’s greater awareness of one of the biggest killers to American women, as well as technological and diagnostic advancements, doctors should be able to detect breast cancer based on symptoms, standard age-based tests, or readily available screening methods. In many types of breast cancers, an early and correct diagnosis can make a significant difference in prognosis.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, some of the more common breast cancer diagnoses include:

med mal attorney

URGENT/11: Medical Products Are Vulnerable to Cybersecurity Threats

Healthcare organizations, IT professionals, device manufacturers and patients are being warned of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication alert on October 1 explaining the serious safety and security risks due to URGENT/11 and a third-party software system called IPnet.

“Security researchers, manufacturers and the FDA are aware that the following operating systems are affected, but the vulnerability may not be included in all versions of these operating systems,” said FDA officials in a released statement which included a warning involving six different operating systems.

illinois med mal lawyer

3 Things to Know Before Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Illinois

Medical negligence or malpractice is often the result of a professional or an institution breaching the standard of care. Illinois health systems, doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, dentists, chiropractors, and clinicians of all kinds can be responsible for a negligent act that provides the basis of a medical malpractice lawsuit. Examples of malpractice may stem from:

  • A hospital choosing to reduce staffing or hours of monitoring at medical facilities

nursing education reform

A New Generation of Nurses Will Require Clinical Teachings to Lessen Medical Error Rates 

We carry no doubt that America’s nurses have devoted years to their education in the classroom by experienced instructors lecturing on how to identify illnesses, symptoms and diseases. And they are learning about how different treatments and medications can be used in case studies and textbooks authored by advanced clinical researchers. But unfortunately, most of these nurses will never acquire much situational teaching in clinical settings or practice the application of their learnings before starting their career. This is resulting in poor judgement calls on behalf of patients, and ultimately more malpractice lawsuits.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN):

breathing tubes

Breathing Tube Removal Mistakes Can Be Deadly for Hospital Patients 

During sedation or illness, many hospital patients may require breathing assistance through intubation. The device used in this procedure is called an endotracheal tube (ET) which is placed through a patient’s mouth and then into the airway so that a breath can be delivered when used with a ventilator. The sensitive intervention can be especially necessary for patients with respiratory failure in both hospital intensive care units (ICU) and pediatric intensive care units (PICU).

Unplanned extubation (UE) is the uncontrolled and dangerous removal of this life-sustaining breathing tube. Sometimes the removal is self-induced by a patient, but healthcare providers also make deadly mistakes during the repair of a tube, suctioning, weighing, or replacing a ventilator circuit. Sadly, UE is a complication that occurs in more than 121,000 adult patients every year in the U.S. and kills 33,000 American adults, as noted in a recent article published in MedPage Today, authored by Art Kanowitz, MD, FACEP.

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