University of Chicago Funding Risked After James Tyree Deadly Medical Error

Chicago Breaking Business reported yesterday evening on news that the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) nearly stopped funding care at the University of Chicago Medical Center. A fatal medical mistake was at the center of the near termination.

A public notice issued by CMS explained that they had discovered at the medical center “deficiencies…so serious they constitute and immediate threat to patient health and safety.” Following that notice it was confirmed that the error the prompted the situation was the one that took the life of Chicago Sun-Times Chairman James Tyree. The hospital was allowed to continue receiving the Medicare funding only after it submitted a plan of corrective action.

Tyree died at the facility in the middle of March. The Chicago medial mistake that took his life involved an air embolism after the botched removal of a dialysis catheter. That type of medical mistake is known as a “never event.” The label applies to problems that are always preventable if medical professionals conduct themselves in the proper way. The deadly procedural error is on the same level as leaving a sponge in a surgical patient’s body or conducting an operation on the wrong body part.

A separate investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health concluded with a “finding of immediate jeopardy due to the hospital’s failure to ensure that facility staff were adequately trained and showed competency” in conducting the procedure which ultimately took the like of James Tyree.

Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Levin & Perconti remain committed to helping Illinois injury victims like those harmed by hospital errors. We are encouraged by the renewed efforts of Medicare to crack down on delinquent facilities that allow these “never” events to occur. Patient safety must remain a prime concern for all parties from hospital administrators and investigative bodies to federal legislators. It is only with that accountability that victims will be spared and lives saved.

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