Researchers Focus Attention on Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

Researchers Focus Attention on Delayed Cancer Diagnosis

Posted by: Dev Sethi

August 10, 2009

Researchers have published a study in the Journal of Internal Medicine addressing process of care failure as a cause of delay in cancer diagnosis. The authors found that process of care failures -- problems in patients getting to doctors in the first place or problems in following up on orders or tests -- contribute to breakdowns in the diagnostic process. These problems were most common in patients on Medicare and were most often seen when the doctor involved was a male or resident of either gender.

The authors recommend that physicians must take steps to ensure that mechanisms are in place to coordinate diagnostic screenings, facilitate follow-up and communication of critical test results and to direct the implementation of appropriate care plans.

Often in our medical negligence cases we face a comparative fault defense. The defendant doctor blames the patient-victim for not following orders or not seeking appropriate care. This recent study confirms that problem, but it properly shifts the burden of making sure the right care is obtained from a scared and uncertain patient to the professional, educated and experienced doctor, who has the tools and know-how to guide the patient through the process.

Medical mistakes that should NEVER happen
Posted by: Jim Dyer
October 29, 2008

Topic: Medical Malpractice

According to a recent study by the Institute of Medicine, medical mistakes at hospitals are killing between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans every year. By contrast, about 43,000 Americans die every year in car accidents. It is safer to be driving your car on a crowded freeway than it is to be lying in a hospital bed.

Health Insurers are now taking action to help stop the carnage in our hospitals. On October 1, 2008, Medicare, Medicaid and many health insurance companies stopped paying hospitals and other providers for expenses for injuries caused by preventable medical mistakes. Medicare also prohibits negligent providers from charging patients for medical mistakes. The hope is that care will improve when health care providers stop getting paid for expenses associated with preventable injuries. Some of these preventable injuries are unfortunately very common, and include severe bed sores and urinary tract infections from catheters.

A list of 28 completely preventable injuries was prepared by the National Quality Forum, a not-for-profit organization created to develop and implement a national strategy for health care quality management and reporting. The 28 injuries are called “never events” because they are completely preventable, and should never happen when appropriate care is given.

Medicare and some health insurance companies have adopted 11 items from the list of 28 'never evens”, and are refusing to pay expenses for the following preventable medical errors:

catheter-associated urinary tract infections
catheter-associated blood vessel infections
Stage 3 or 4 bedsores occurring at the hospital
Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) or pulmonary embolism (blockage of an artery in the lung) after total knee replacement or hip replacement
In-hospital falls and trauma such as head injury
Surgical site infections after certain elective procedures such as spine surgery, bariatric surgery or certain procedures to remove varicose veins
Giving patients the wrong blood type
Air embolism (bubbles of air or gas entering the bloodstream during surgey)
A foreign object such as a sponge needle or scalpel left in the body after surgery
Certain issues related to poor control of blood sugar such as diabetic coma
mediastinitis (infection of the area between the lungs) following bypass surgery)

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