Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In Massachusetts: Most "Wrong-Spot Surgeries" Are Spinal

Today's Boston Globe carries this article, Most surgery in wrong spot done on spine, which states since 2006, Mass. surgeons have operated in the wrong location on patients 38 times — 11 of those times were spinal surgeries. See full article here...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New AHRQ Study Finds Surgical Errors Cost Nearly $1.5 Billion Annually

Potentially preventable medical errors that occur during or after surgery may cost employers nearly $1.5 billion a year, according to new estimates by the Department of Health & Human Services' (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

In a study published in the July 28 issue of the journal Health Services Research, AHRQ's William E. Encinosa, Ph.D., and Fred J. Hellinger, Ph.D., found that insurers paid an additional $28,218 (52 percent more) and an additional $19,480 (48 percent more) for surgery patients who experienced acute respiratory failure or post-operative infections, respectively, compared with patients who did not experience either error.

The authors also found these additional costs for surgery patients who experienced the following medical errors compared with those who did not:

  • Nursing care associated with medical errors, including pressure ulcers and hip fractures—$12,196 (33 percent more).
  • Metabolic problems associated with medical errors, including kidney failure or uncontrolled blood sugar—$11,797 (32 percent more).
  • Blood clots or other vascular or pulmonary problems associated with medical errors—$7,838 (25 percent more).
  • Wound opening associated with medical errors—$1,426 (6 percent more).

See press release for more details.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pittsburgh Med-Mal Jury Finds Hospital Negligent, Awards $0 Damages

This via's The Legal Intelligencer...
"Pittsburgh attorneys are seeking a new trial in a medical malpractice case in which a jury found a hospital negligent in a patient's death but awarded $0 survival damages because the jury said "no amount of damages will adequately punish" the hospital."
According to the article, Med-Mal Jury Says 'No Amount' Will Adequately Punish Hospital,
"After eight days of testimony in the case of Rettger v. UPMC Shadyside, it is the unanimous opinion of the jury that no amount of damages will adequately punish UPMC."
Read full article...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ouch! Surgeon Apologizes for Operating on Wrong Side

To err is human; to apologize divine? A surgeon in Boston recently operated on the wrong side of a patient (see Boston Globe blog entry: Surgeon operates on patient's wrong side) despite much effort by the industry and Beth Deaconess Medical Center to avoid just this type of medical error through use of a "time out" and other practices and procedures.

The error was discovered during recovery, and the surgeon told the patient about the error and apologized. As of the writing of this blog, the patient had not decided whether to have the correct operation — or at which hospital. See full account here...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ABA Medical Malpractice Media Kit - Good Backgrounder

While these resources are not extremely fresh, they are part of the current ABA media kit on medical malpractice. This mini-site includes, ABA commentary and policy/letters as well links to resources including, but not limited to:
and more...