According to a recent article published by USA Today, hospital safety issues are not always addressed in a timely or productive manner. Depending on the specific issue, patients can be at risk for a wide range of illnesses and infections. Even when safety issues are officially reported, hospitals rarely face consequences that are serious enough to spark any meaningful changes. Not only does this leave patients vulnerable to infections, but it also prevents them from being able to make informed decisions about where to turn for medical treatment.
One investigative report cited in the article looks at an incident at MedStar Washington Hospital Center where plumbing issues caused sewage to leak down the walls and onto the floor of an operating room.
The president of the hospital put out a statement saying that the plumbing issue had been fixed. However, Lisa McGiffert, Director of the Safe Patient Project run by Consumer Reports, commented that the system is flawed and that not enough is being done to demonstrate public accountability. One way to do this, said McGiffert, is to force hospitals to participate in both internal and external audits following a safety-related incident.
Hospitals Should Face Stiffer Consequences
According to the author of the Discussions in Infection Control blog, penalties and fines are not effective methods of issuing change. When there is little to no consequence for compromising patient safety, there is no incentive to make significant changes. Unfortunately, this means that patients may seek treatment in a hospital without knowing that it has been issued a substantial fine for a safety violation.
Lately, there has been a trend towards increased transparency with regard to the information available to patients, which allows them to make more informed choices about their health care. However, some hospitals have been slow to release quality data.
David Kashmer, M.D. is a trauma and emergency surgeon who pointed out that, when hospitals focus on more short-term investments, rather than more long-term improvements, it can hurt the hospital’s bottom line in the long run. In fact, hospitals that implement targeted prevention programs see a median savings of two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars. We have the tools necessary to make significant changes, he said, but some hospitals simply do not use them, whether it is because of the culture of the facility or a specific situation.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect Victims of Medical Negligence
If you have been injured, or developed an infection as the result of a safety violation in the hospital where you were being treated, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will determine who is responsible for the safety issue and ensure that those parties are held liable for your injury or illness. To set up a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.