Health authorities in every state know that failure to get a good handle on hospital-acquired infections -- knowing what they are and at what locations they are occurring -- renders it all the more difficult to treat infection. Lack of knowledge translates into poor planning and readiness should an infection spread sudden and widely beyond a particular hospital, and certain infections are, candidly, deadly.
The Oklahoman (8/26, Colberg) reports that "17 mainstay drugs used in chemotherapy are currently in short supply." In the August issue of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Post, Dr. Derek Raghavan argues that "the shortage of cytotoxic drugs...will certainly lead to an epidemic of avoidable deaths." Other safety issues have arisen. For instance, "two deaths in patients related to an accidental overdose of a pain medication substituted" for morphine, and blood infections that resulted from "contamination of a substituted powder form of a nutritional solution commonly used by cancer patients."
Pauline W. Chen, MD, writes in the New York Times (8/26, Subscription Publication) "Well" blog that in a study published in the August issue of Health Affairs, "researchers asked hundreds of physicians and administrators in private practices across the United States and Canada how much time they spent each day with insurers and other third-party payers." Notably, US physicians spent significantly more time than their Canadian peers "dealing with multiple health plans: more than $80,000 per year per physician, or roughly four times as much as their northern counterparts. And their offices spent as many as 21 hours per week with payers, nearly 10 times as much as the Canadian offices." Chen points out how all this time spent dealing with insurers "inevitably gets in the way of patient care."
When it comes to hospital-acquired infections, it's just a parade of sobering statistics.
Is it medical malpractice if a patient admitted to a hospital for a heart attack subsequently -- while in the hospital - has so much blood drawn for diagnostic tests that he or she develops anemia and suffers serious injury or even death later, following discharge?
A medical malpractice lawsuit was brought in the wake of a young infant's death last year in Chicago after a computerized machine did not detect a pharmacist's electronic prescribing error and administered an IV solution 60 times higher than what was truly called for.
The September issue of Consumer Reports magazine features an article that might not strike many people as overly surprising any more, given the unflagging procession of other articles and medical studies recently that echo its central conclusion.
Here is the concern as highlighted in a massive new study just published in the journal Health Affairs and expressed in one of many media sources across the country reporting on study researchers' findings: "the growing role of Americans' busy primary care physicians as first-line providers of mental health care to American patients."
About 75 percent of all breast cancer screenings performed in the United Sates rely on computer-aided detection ("CAD") technology software, which was approved for use by the FDA in 1998. Some prior studies indicate that CAD technology can help detect cancer as well as the second set of eyes provided by a reviewing radiologist.
It seems logical that two reviewers of relevant radiation therapy numbers could take away two opposing perspectives, one glass-half-full and the other half-empty.
Excela Health ("Excela"), the large health care network headquartered in Greensburg, is under heavy legal fire, facing scores of potential lawsuits alleging medical malpractice against two of its doctors for performing unnecessary heart surgeries.