Medical malpractice trend lines are important to follow. Over the years each Chicago medical malpractice lawyer at our firm has gained an appreciation for the fact that certain caregivers and certain hospitals often commit medical errors at a far higher rate than others. This suggests that in many ways the worst caregivers make mistake after mistake while most medical professionals act reasonably at all times to ensure patients are not harmed by preventable errors. It also suggests that focused medical malpractice lawsuits which put pressure on the chronically negligent can go a long way toward allowing the public to identify facilities and medical professionals that they should avoid if possible.
For example, a story last week from NY Daily News discusses one city hospital that has a staggering 100 medical malpractice lawsuits pending against it. The lawsuits against the hospital have been filed by former patients and relatives of former patients who claim that their medical condition was made worse as a result of the care they received at the home. Many suits involved wrongful death claims, where surviving family members of patients suggest that the inadequate care provided by the hospital caused (or contributed) to their loved ones passing. The problem may be much worse than even these stats suggest, because for every case that is actually filed there are likely dozen more that simply don’t lead to a suit.
Of course, with over one hundred pending cases, plaintiffs are alleging a wide range of harms. In one case, the family of a mugging victim alleges that their loved one died because of inadequate emergency care when brought to the facility. In two other cases, patients developed pressure ulcers so severe that complications from the ulcers led to their deaths. Pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores or pressure sores) are virtually always preventable and are caused by the failure to reposition certain residents.
In another lawsuit, a patient with diabetes had a puncture would that got infected without treatment such that the patient’s toes had to be amputated. One suit claims that a patient was given penicillin even though she was wearing a bracelet that specifically indicated she was allergic to it. Yet another pending case involves a baby who suffered permanent brain damage and nervous system injuries as a result of allegedly shoddy care during childbirth.
One state assemblyman explained that the number of lawsuits pending against the home is “a very strong indication that something is definitely wrong with how the hospital is run.”
The hospital is facing money problems, having had $42 million in operating losses last year. Of course, those familiar with the situation have explained that providing inadequate care is a recipe for money problems. Unsafe hospitals are expensive. Beyond the ultimate need to keep patients safe, improving care is also coupled with financial savings. The executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy explained that allowing repeated instances of care like this is simply unacceptable. She noted, “There are proven ways to clean up your act, patient safety improvements that are well known. It is pure negligence not to do them.”
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