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New report underscores "disturbing" tainted-scope dimensions

The sad saga surrounding contaminated medical duodenoscopes continues, with a recently released report indicating that the fallout from tainted scopes -- sometimes fatal -- is considerably more serious that what prior estimates have posited.

Many readers of our Arizona medical malpractice blog likely know more than a few material details regarding the scopes, which are routinely used in hundreds of thousands of gastrointestinal procedures aimed at treating cancers and other abnormalities in the digestive tract.

Electronic health records systems: far from error-proof yet

"[E]lectronic health record systems are complex," says one health care researcher and scientific adviser.

And, clearly, they are fallible, as evidenced by survey-based research recently released by the Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit group focused on hospital issues and patient safety across the country.

New evidence points to underreported drug errors during surgery

One central finding -- served up in the form of an admonition -- that emerges from an influential new study of medication errors that occur during surgery in American hospitals is this: Don't believe what you hear.

What is widely assumed about the occurrence of surgical-related mistakes is simply off base, according to researchers at an institution referred to in one recent media account as "one of America's most prestigious academic medical centers."

Medical device maker steps up with guarantee on surgical sponges

We referred to so-called "never events" in our immediately preceding blog post, noting in our March 25 entry that they are "results that simply do not -- and never should -- occur in the absence of care-delivery negligence."

Readers trying to conjure up a suitably frightful possibility need look no further than a surgical sponge.

On display: a surgical "never event," coupled with a cover up

Although the surgical mistake and attendant need for a follow-up procedure did not occur in Arizona, it certainly could have, and we note its details for readers for the "capable-of-repetition-elsewhere" possibilities it entails. Errors of the magnitude that feature prominently in the case are not common, but they ocassionally do occur in hospitals across the country.

In fact, there is a term commonly known in the medical industry for particularly egregious surgical outcomes that clearly flow from negligence, namely, "never events." Those are results that simply do not -- and never should -- occur in the absence of care-delivery negligence.

What befell the unfortunate patient in the case cited today certainly qualifies for that dubious designation.

In a nutshell, here's what her medical malpractice lawsuit alleges happened to her.

Notwithstanding the pre-op surgical site marks identifying a possibly cancerous lesion on a rib that were made to properly guide the surgical team, a surgical trainee removed the wrong rib. Thereafter, and following realization of the mistake, he allegedly sought to hide the error, telling the woman that she needed a second surgery to properly finish the job. She underwent that procedure.

She now seeks damages, stating that she wouldn't have commenced litigation if she had simply been told the truth.

The hospital has publicly acknowledged error in the matter.

Across the country, hospital alarms are, well, alarming

Where patient safety is concerned, more rather than less data trumps, right?

And in the sphere of hospital alarms, specifically, it must assuredly be the case that more beeping and chiming to alert nurses and other staff members of patient-related needs and concerns is preferable than ongoing silence, which quite literally mutes dangerous conditions.

Truly chilling implications: when hospitals get hacked

When readers hear the words "restoring normal operations," they might reasonably think of something like getting the lights back on at the ballpark following a power outage. Getting back to normal might also apply to something like getting the planes back in the air and landing routinely once an oil spill on a runway has been cleaned off, or resuming full speed at a factory following a work stoppage.

Of course, we are now firmly embarked on the 21st century, where many things in life have changed, including, centrally, the implications posed by continuously evolving technological tools and standards.

The list is long: malpractice insurer details doctors' errors

It is reasonable to assume that a medical malpractice insurance provider knows a thing or two about the underlying causes that drive litigation claims filed by injured patients and their families.

Put another way: An insurer that seeks to protect doctors and other medical professionals against liability for botched outcomes grounded in substandard care delivery commands a detailed understanding of why victims harmed by medical negligence file legal claims.

A surgical "never event" underscores need for victim assistance

In doing so, they frequently argue that malpractice claims are frivolous and unduly pricey.

In fact, such claims are often and simply only about justice, as is clearly underscored by a recent story involving a blatant birth injury-related error committed by a doctor at one hospital.

Here's what happened, pure and simple. Medical staff members confused one newborn for another, taking a perfectly healthy baby and subjecting it to a tongue-cutting procedure aimed at eradicating eating and future speech problems.

Of course, the child had no such issues.

Now perhaps the infant does.

In medical parlance, such an egregious and unthinkable mistake is called a "never event," and for obvious reasons.

Absent flat-out negligence committed by a medical professional or team, such an outcome would never have happened.

We're talking things like sponges left inside surgical patients, wrong-site surgery and, as here, a completely inappropriate procedure performed on an innocent victim.

Such lapses in the standard of care owed patients demand action and remedial fixes to ensure that they never happen again.

That is what a medical malpractice filing is all about, coupled with its deterrent effect on future shoddy practices and its ability to provide some degree of help that is badly needed by a malpractice victim and his or her family.

Questions or concerns regarding substandard medical care delivery can be addressed to a proven plaintiffs' medical malpractice attorney.

Resting in a hospital? Now there's a concept.

Have you ever been a patient in an Arizona hospital?

If so, do you have memories of softly drifting into a deep and relaxing sleep that lasted for hours each night, with hospital staff members doing everything they could to dampen noise levels and surrounding distractions?

*Certified Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation by the State Bar of Arizona, Board of Legal Specialization