Federal Agency Describes Hospital Conditions as Serious Threat to Patient Safety

Our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers know that the majority of medical professionals in our state and throughout the country are competent professionals who save lives day in and day out. It is only a minority who engage in unreasonable actions that place the lives of their patients in danger. Unfortunately, it is often the same medical workers who time and again fail to perform adequately and harm patients. At the hospital level, there are often systematic problems at the same facilities which again and again result in substandard care. In those locations far too many patients often find that they are in a worse condition than before they entered.

It remains important for all regulators and individual patients to hold the facilities accountable which are repeatedly the site of medical malpractice. For example, Forbes News reportedly last week on how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently ended an inspection of one hospital by declaring that poor conditions at the hospital were a “serious threat” to public safety. As a result of the facility deficiencies, the medical center will not be able to participate in Medicare unless changes are enacted. The hospital was given only two weeks to make necessary changes or its participation will terminate at the end of the month.

The CMS official explained that the aggressive actions of the agency in this case are rare-indicating that the prevalence of medical errors at the hospital were likely high. The official explained that two fining in particular related to infection care and emergency care were considered “immediate jeopardy” status. That is the most severe finding that the agency can have and it triggers immediate action.

The findings were issued at the culmination of a two week inspections that were initially started because of the death of a patient in the psychiatric emergency room of the facility earlier this year. Reports indicate that a 49-year old schizophrenic patient was restrained in his bed shortly before his death without proper monitoring.

The Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti understand the important role that CMS officials play in ensuring hospital quality. We also realize that the victims legal ability to recover financially for the losses they suffer as a result of poor treatment similarly acts as an incentive for these facilities to engage in appropriate care. In both cases, these facilities are forced to learn that hard lesson that poor care will hit them in the pocketbook. Unfortunately, for many medical providers, if they do not have any financial incentive to make policy changes that could save lives, then they will not do so. Necessary improvements to eliminate unnecessary safety risks are often ignored until a serious inspection such as the one by CMS officials threatens to take away a funding source.

In an ideal world all medical workers and their administrators would constantly be making change to improve the services they provide without prompting. However, we do not yet live in that world. Instead, improvement occur in a when victims or regulators come forward and demand accountability and necessary change to limit the prevalence of medical mistakes.

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