Veterans' Administration hospitals, as readers may have heard, do not have the greatest track record in terms of preventing medical errors. To be sure, medical errors can and do occur from time to time at every hospital, even in the absence of negligence. However, hospitals should continually be working on reducing preventable errors, since these can have a significant impact on the quality of care for patients and shouldn't be occurring in the first place.
In our last post, we mentioned a recent study which highlighted the benefit of returning to the facility that performed a surgical operation when post-op complications arise. As we mentioned, it is important for any patient who experiences serious complications after an operation to consider whether the providers who performed the operation did so in accordance with accepted standards of care.
In our last post, we began speaking about the risks associated with the Fentanyl spray Subsys and the fact that it is often prescribed for off-label uses, some of which are actually contraindicated by the manufacturer. Because of the toxicity of the drug, as well as the risk of addiction and overdose, there is a very tight system of control around the drug.
Physicians have a big responsibility when it comes to the promotion and prescription of medications for the benefit of their patients. Because of the way medical care is delivered, patients rely on their doctors to recommend the most beneficial course of treatment, without reference to personal gain. Unfortunately, the system doesn't always work that way.
A federal database designed to help Americans better track the performance of physicians contains so many accuracies that it cannot be considered reliable. The database, which is run by the federal Centers for Medicine for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is supposed to track physician performance by a 10-digit number assigned by the government, but in many cases, those numbers are wrong, making it impossible for patients to research a physician’s performance history.
Last time, we spoke about the conviction of former hematologist and oncologist Farid Fata in Michigan for defrauding patients. As we noted, Fata is facing potential civil liability for his misdeeds, but plaintiffs do face challenges in seeking relief from the disgraced doctor.
When we talk about medical malpractice on this blog and in general, we are very often speaking about decent doctors who, for one reason or another, had a lapse of judgment and made a mistake that ended up harming a patient. In some medical malpractice cases, a doctor may have a history of violations due to lack of skill or carelessness, but generally mean well toward his patients.
A recent article on the blog Health Affairs made an important point about the current situation with the health care system when it comes to dealing with medical errors: transparency can significantly improve the outcome of cases in which medical errors occur, even when those errors result in death, but transparency is not the norm, unfortunately.
Increasingly, health systems across the United States are moving toward an approach which aims to increase patients' involvement in their own care. The idea is that patients who take ownership of their treatment through deeper engagement can help improve their own quality of care and achieve better outcomes.
We've been talking about cancer screening in our last couple posts--the risks, the benefits, and the potential for doctors to make the mistake of failing to recommend cancer screening. The latter issue is an important one, of course, because doctors have a huge responsibility in ensuring that their patients receive a timely diagnosis and proper treatment.