Nine out of ten hospitals in Arizona do not meet a patient safety watchdog's standard for dealing with 'never events." In a report on this issue, Leapfrog rated hospitals around the country on their responses to egregious medical errors like fatal medication mistakes, serious falls, wrong-site surgeries and objects left inside patients' bodies after surgery.
The findings and recommendations of a May 2016 study on medical errors may lead to safer clinical settings for Arizona patients. The British Medical Journal reports that about 250,000 deaths in the U.S. each year are due to medical mistakes, which is a term that encompasses hospital negligence, prescription drug error, doctor error and generally injuries that occur when patients are under the care of medical personnel. High-profile settlements, such as that received by the family of Joan Rivers, and peer-reviewed investigations have uncovered systemic problems and potential solutions.
When Arizona residents need medical care, they most likely go to the hospital with the expectation that they will improve. Unfortunately, many people end up being seriously injured or dying because of medical mistakes that happen. Each year in the U.S., an estimated 440,000 people die because of medical errors that happen while they are hospitalized.
Medication errors are a serious concern for hospital patients in Arizona and throughout the nation. The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that around 1 out of 20 hospital patients was injured by medications in 2015. To prevent medication errors from taking place, most hospitals have instituted some type of computerized medication system. These systems are supposed to prevent medication errors by checking for potential dangers.
If an individual is prescribed pain medication, drives from the hospital and causes an accident, the doctor may be liable for third-party damages. This is what a New York court determined in one case that took place in 2009. A woman drove herself home from the hospital shortly after receiving pain medication, and she was not warned of the dangers of doing so.
According to a study published on Dec. 28 in JAMA Neurology, brain death policies vary widely from hospital to hospital in Arizona and nationwide. This is troubling because clear national guidelines on the requirements necessary for declaring a patient brain dead were issued by the American Academy of Neurology in 2010.
Arizona residents may be interested to learn about the death of a woman in Florida. The 57-year-old woman died after she was arrested at Calhoun Liberty Hospital on Dec. 21. Shortly before her death, the woman was being escorted out of the hospital by a police officer for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
There has been a debate in courts in some states on whether an individual who is injured in a fall in a hospital might be able to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages as a slip and fall injury or as medical malpractice. The importance of this is related to both the procedural issues connected to medical malpractice in Arizona and other jurisdictions and the impact this has on the case and the cost of litigating it.
A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must demonstrate that a health care provider owed a duty of care. To establish this, the patient must show that there was a relationship with that provider when the malpractice took place. Generally, it must be shown that the relationship was voluntary.
Arizona residents may be interested to learn that in at least one state, a court ruled that a doctor cannot be sued for not carrying malpractice insurance. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that after a doctor improperly placed screws in a patient's foot, it would be the responsibility of the state medical board to discipline him for not being insured and not the court.