Massachusetts residents may be unaware of the degree to which medical professionals say they observe their colleagues and superiors making errors. According to a study in 2005 conducted by The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and VitalSmarts, over half of the 1,700 nurses, administrators, doctors and clinical-care staff surveyed observed behaviors in their colleagues that included breaking rules, making mistakes and failing to support others. Furthermore, more than 8 out of 10 doctors said they had seen colleagues taking dangerous shortcuts in patient care and 88 percent described colleagues as having poor clinical judgment.
Massachusetts residents may not be aware of the recent federal review that found a 17 percent decline in preventable errors such as medicine mistakes, infections and bed sores. The study accounted for the 2010 to 2013 period and estimated that utilizing methods provided by health care quality experts has contributed to 50,000 fewer deaths in hospitals. The decline also accounts for health care costs savings of around $12 billion.
Massachusetts patients may be affected by laws that do not require physicians to inform them of a medical error. Many doctors fear their patients will file malpractice lawsuits if they admit to fault. The disclosure process is also largely unregulated with no universal standard practices to guide physicians as they inform patients of mistakes made during practice.
Many people in Massachusetts get regular checkups with their primary care doctors, trusting that they can give them the most accurate diagnosis possible. Still, as much faith as most people have in their physicians, doctors do make mistakes.
Massachusetts residents may be interested in a recent fraud case regarding a doctor in New York. The physician admitted to performing unnecessary procedures to increase profits, and the court sentenced the doctor to more than four years of federal prison for insurance fraud. The doctor must also pay restitution and fines.
Massachusetts residents might be interested in the details of a lawsuit recently filed in civil court in Pennsylvania. The suit was filed against a hospital and seeks compensation for the death of a 26-year-old woman who was hospitalized for headaches. She died as the result of negligent treatment, according to the suit. She had recently received her degree in medicine and was scheduled to begin a pediatric residency at a children's hospital unaffiliated with the defendant hospital.
Massachusetts patients could learn from an incident in which a University of Toledo Medical Center nurse accidentally threw away a kidney for a donor's sister in August 2012. Even though the medical center admitted its mistake, it is still asking a court to throw out the case on the grounds that it was not medically negligent. While the girl ended up with another kidney match, lawyers for the family are going forward with the lawsuit, alleging substandard care.
A 2011 hospital safety assessment found that some hospitals have yet to put into effect injection policies to protect patients from the spread of disease. Patients in Massachusetts may be alarmed to learn the reuse of syringes, improper use of multiple-dose vials and other unsafe practices have caused several known cases of infection with dangerous disease. Experts estimate that many more cases go unreported. According to a team leader with the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, a major problem behind lapses in safe practices is a lack of education among health care workers.
A woman was unexpectedly detained by airport security when the metal detector signaled, but no one knew why. However, she had a suspicion that the reason behind the alert was a problem related to a recent surgery. An appointment with her surgeon revealed that a medical instrument had been left behind after the operation. Similar stories of medical mistakes that can lead to medical malpractice can be more common than people think.