Articles Posted in Current Issues

Wisconsin Woman Died Soon After Leaving Emergency Room

A daycare teacher who was waiting to be seen in a Milwaukee hospital emergency room passed away just a few hours after she decided to leave and try an urgent care facility instead. News reports distributed by CNN on January 17, 2020 say she sought emergency medical care at Froedtert Hospital after experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath.

According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner report, after waiting more than two hours, the 25-year-old left and went to seek help at an urgent care. She then collapsed as she arrived at the facility parking lot, and was pronounced dead not long after.

Legionella-Related Cases Being Investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage

Becker’s Hospital Review is reporting that three individual cases of Legionnaires’ disease are being investigated at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage in Winfield, Illinois. According to the report, one individual was an inpatient at Central DuPage, while the other two had outpatient visits.

In Illinois, state and local health departments typically take the lead in investigating possible Legionella cases but may request help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when necessary, such as during an outbreak. In 2018, state health departments reported nearly 10,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a rate which has grown by nearly nine times since 2000.

Struggling Hospitals

Chicago Hospitals Fall Behind in Safety and Quality Rankings

According to The Leapfrog Group’s bi-annual list of hospital grades based on hospital survey results, several Chicago hospitals received the highest grade for overall safety and quality. Still, surprisingly, some of the city’s top hospitals didn’t make this session’s cut. Leapfrog sends the survey to hospitals in which the group said about 2,100 participated. Hospitals were asked about specific measures for example related to hand hygiene, intensive care unit physician staffing, bedsores and falls, C-section rates, rates of episiotomies during childbirth, and radiation doses for pediatric patients during CT scans. Based on the feedback provided, including a review of health insurance information, the non-profit then assigned each hospital with a grade of A through F.

Illinois’ hospitals that received an A grade in the Fall 2019 report, include:

Rights of veterans

Green Beret’s Case Weakens Feres Doctrine, Will Allow Military Members to Receive Compensation for Malpractice Injuries

Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal, served in the military for 14 years and was a member of the Green Berets. He is now fighting stage 4 terminal cancer after his military doctors at Womack Army Medical Center in Fort Bragg misdiagnosed his illness despite noticing a tumor in his lung. Stayskal attempted to sue the Department of Defense for medical malpractice but was met with the Feres doctrine. The law is based on 70-year-old Supreme Court decision that says active-duty military members are not able to make a claim against the government. Luckily, Stayskal’s ongoing fight alongside congressional lawmakers will help change that.

On Monday, December 16, 2019, a final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was released including an amendment that will allow for members of the country’s armed forces to now file a claim against the U.S. and receive compensation if they were subjected to negligent or wrongful medical treatment at a military facility.

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.

As Malpractice Laws Changes, Patient Safety Concerns Grow

The 12th edition of Medical Malpractice: By The Numbers is now open for review and examines the latest statistics, facts, and research concerning unsafe hospitals, preventable patient injuries, negligent clinicians, and medical errors. Authored by the Center for Justice & Democracy at New York Law School (CJ&D) researchers say the 172-page volume includes over 500 linked footnotes and sources and was released at a time when laws are making it harder for patients and their families to place accountability on wrong-doing hospitals and incompetent physicians.

Briefing book statistics are shared for topics such as:

medical malpractice attorneys

Information About Sepsis Dangers and Sepsis-Associated Deaths in Hospital Settings 

When a person’s immune system becomes compromised, the body can respond in deadly ways, such as septicemia, a lethal condition more commonly known as – sepsis. A 2019 Critical Care Medicine investigative report confirmed that sepsis is highly present in hospitals and that it contributes significantly to patient deaths, some preventable. About one-third of people who develop sepsis will die from it, and as many as 65 percent of those people were being treated for another issue in a hospital setting at the time of their sepsis diagnosis.

Sepsis occurs when a person develops a bacterial infection in their bloodstream. It can happen to any patient, at any age. For those who survive, many will be left in a life-altering state and battle conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and fatigue, organ dysfunction, brain and heart conditions, and disabling amputations. Family members and caregivers may also become exhausted and depressed due to the difficult recovery and therapies their loved one now requires. 

birth injury lawyers

New Survey Shows Women Deserve Better Treatment While in Labor 

After the review of a recent survey of American women, Giving Voice to Mothers (GVtM), conducted by both clinicians and researchers using World Health Organization frameworks, it is now known that one out of six women surveyed reported being mistreated while in labor.

Examples of their mistreatment included:

understaffed hospital

Westlake Hospital Stays Open for Now, Community Leaders Say There Are Not Enough Staff to Care for Patients 

By court order, Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park is to stay open and keep patient safety a top concern. Previously, a Cook County Circuit Court judge granted Melrose Park a temporary restraining order, prohibiting Pipeline Health (owners of Westlake) from further minimizing services or staffing after they had announced the hospital would no longer be admitting new patients and transferring others.

But local lawmaker Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch of Westchester says that despite the newest court order to stay open and treat patients, Pipeline Health is still “turning employees and staff away.”

Public Policy Polling (PPP) recently released data from phone polls conducted in late March on the topic of H.R. 1215, a House bill that will be voted on in the next several weeks. H.R. 1215 seeks to limit non-economic damages to $250,000 in medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, prescription and OTC drug and medical device lawsuits. PPP asked the same set of questions to between 500-700 registered voters in 7 red (Republican) and purple states (those that have voted both Republican & Democratic in the past several elections). Polling only red & purple states was intentional, as  Republicans have traditionally leaned towards tort reform, the act of limiting medical malpractice and nursing home abuse lawsuits in favor of protecting big corporations. PPP found that in the polled states of Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Alabama and Arizona, support for H.R. 1215 was virtually non-existent, with over 60% of polled citizens in every state disagreeing with the bill.

Even more impressive was the percentage of voters in each state that believed nursing homes should be held accountable if acts of negligence caused the injury or death of a loved one. The amount of support for nursing home abuse and negligence lawsuits was 77% at its lowest (Florida), and 86% at its highest (Georgia).

Finally, each state’s opposition to H.R. 1215 grew stronger as the person conducting the phone interview gave more information on the bill to voters.

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