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Dialysis Investigation Reveals Troubling Medical Care For U.S. Patients

The nonprofit group ProPublica recently revealed the results of a new study involving the investigation of kidney dialysis patients. Time magazine recently explored the startling findings which show that dialysis patients in the United States are more likely to die than similar patients in almost any other industrialized nation. Thousands of kidney patients die in the US because of poor medical care.

The investigation included collecting information from patients, doctors, safety advocates, policymakers, industry experts, and others. The findings indicated that many dialysis treatment settings are unsanitary-many lapses in care were discovered. To make matters worse, the government has withheld data about the performance of these clinics from the patients who are making decisions about where to seek their treatment.

An important fact underlying all of this is that two corporate chains currently dominate the dialysis-care system in the US- cumulatively making $2 billion in operating profits a year. The profit-driven care flips the medical process on its head, with results being measured by quantity instead of quality of care. For dialysis patients, the more drugs provided to the individual makes the companies money in drug sales, while increased oversight of the process by doctors and nurses limits profit. As a results, patients are often set on risky drug-filled treatment plans without the necessary oversight to ensure all is conducted safely. On top of that, the ProPublica data revealed treatment that was often riddled with incompetence, doctor error, and dangerous care standards.

This troubling medical reality comes as no surprise to our Chicago malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti. Through the years we have participated in many cases involving patient care that was sacrificed for the maximization of corporate profits. Unfortunately, current regulatory schemes are not well-designed to prevent the sort of medical errors exhibited here. For that reason it is important to be on the look-out for examples of this problem at local hospitals. Changes often only occur when individual victims step forward and press for their medical right to hold the negligent corporate entity accountable.

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