Monthly Archives: April 2016

Are Overcrowded Emergency Rooms a Threat to Patient Safety?

Overcrowded emergency rooms can put patients at risk of death or injury from medical mistakes. Many of the common causes of medical mistakes, such as signoff errors, poor communication or failure to double-check work may be more likely to occur when health care providers are rushing between patients in crowded emergency rooms. Crowded emergency departments may also divert ambulances to other hospitals or require longer wait times for incoming patients. For patients with serious health conditions, diversions and longer wait times are a recipe for disaster. A study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine claimed patients undergoing treatment in overcrowded emergency rooms had a 5 percent higher risk of death than patients in less-crowded emergency rooms. Another study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) suggested medical mistakes are twice as common in crowded emergency departments. Overcrowding is a patient safety risk and has been for…
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In Hospitals, Silence Hurts

For victims of medical mistakes and their families, emotional pain and suffering continue long after errors are made. Victims and family members may want answers, and in many cases, hospitals only offer silence. A recent Forbes article covered this subject quite well, and it shows how patients and health care providers are emotionally hurt by medical mistakes. Take for example the most recent medical mistake to make national headlines, in which a Yale doctor undergoing residency removed the wrong rib from his patient. This patient claimed to be upset because the hospital remained completely silent on the mistake, even though it put her life in jeopardy and caused significant pain. No apology was offered and the patient felt neglected. Healthcare providers can also suffer from feelings of intense remorse after making a medical mistake. In 2010, a Seattle nurse accidently gave an infant a fatal dose of medication. After her…
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Why Hospital Surfaces Are Hazardous to Your Health

Germophobes and people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, this blog may give you nightmares. If you are afraid to touch railings and doorknobs, our blog today may induce a mild panic attack during your next hospital visit. Germs are everywhere, but they love to hang out in hospitals. In hospitals, germs find ways to evolve and develop immunities to antibiotics, becoming ‘superbugs’. Researchers at the University of Michigan recently published a paper showing that 25 percent of patients carried superbugs or viruses on their hands after being discharged from hospitals. Patients in post-acute care even picked up additional superbugs! This is because hospital patients in post-acute care were more likely to interact with others or hospital equipment. Can Hand Sanitation Prevent the Spread of Hospital-Acquired Infections? Hospitals are aware of the threat posed by bacteria, and many require super-strict hand sanitation policies for staff members. If you have been to a hospital…
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