Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

2016 Top 10 Patient Safety Problems

Posted by James D. Campbell | Apr 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

By James Campbell

The Emergency Care Research Institute is a non profit organization that promotes patient safety and analyzes medical malpractice.  Annually, it compiles a list of the top medical malpractice ten safety concerns faced by patients.  This years' list was recently published, and it list

  1. Electronic health records systems do not reflect how medical professionals actually care for patients  This results in doctors and nurses not obtaining important information that can cause serious medical errors. 
  2. Patient identification errors.  Surprisingly, doctors are still performing wrong site and wrong surgeries far too often. 
  3. Inadequate management of behavioral health issues in non-behavioral-health settings.  Patients are not treated for psychological conditions in the appropriate psychological behavior care facilities, which results in poor care. 
  4. Inadequate cleaning and disinfection of flexible endoscopes.  Endoscopes are great tools, but they require careful cleaning that is not occurring.  This can result is serious infections. 
  5. Inadequate test-result reporting and follow-up.  Doctors order tests, but the results are not being acted upon with necessary urgency.  This is because the results are not getting to the doctor, or the doctor is not acting on the results.  
  6. Inadequate monitoring for respiratory depression in patients prescribed opioids.  Narcotic pain medications cause a depression in a person's drive to breathe.  If not monitored, this can cause a patient's oxygen levels to drop, resulting in death or serious injury. 
  7. Medication errors related to pounds and kilograms.  Many medications require the patient's weight be calculated in kilograms.  Unfamiliarity with this system results in serous medication errors.  
  8. Unintentionally retained objects despite correct count. Retained sponges and other surgical items still are left inside patients. This is an entirely preventable problem caused by malpractice.  
  9. Inadequate antimicrobial stewardship.  This is simply hand washing.  Caregivers need to wash hands every time they see a patient. 
  10. Failure to embrace a culture of safety.  All too often, facilities fail to embrace the necessary culture to ensure patient safety.  This results in systemic failures. 

Our clients have been recently injured as a results of problems 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8.  Many of these items are beyond your control. But, you can try to keep track of the tests run on you and make sure that your doctor is following up on them.  Also, if a doctor or nurse does not wash their hands in your presence, speak up.  

About the Author

James D. Campbell

Jim Campbell is an experienced medical malpractice trial lawyer. Jim learned the craft of medical malpractice litigation law representing physicians and hospitals throughout the State of Arizona. He successfully tried many lawsuits on behalf of physicians and hospitals, even when the odds were overwhelmingly against his client. Now, Jim uses his skill and experience representing patients. His defense experience gives him an advantage in anticipating the tactics that physicians and their lawyers will use. He is able to proactively engineer his client's case to successfully meet those strategies.


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