Monthly Archives: January 2017

This Common Health Condition is a Major Cause of Preventable Hospital Deaths

Health complications caused by blood clots are a leading cause of preventable hospital deaths. One such complication is a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when blood clots travel to and block arteries in the lungs. Deaths caused by pulmonary embolisms in hospitals are surprisingly common. Many factors can increase the risk of a pulmonary embolism. Patients with preexisting conditions like arthritis, high blood pressure, obesity or alcoholism have an increased risk. Certain medications, like birth control, also raise to risk. However, blood clots can happen to anyone after a prolonged period of bedrest. Some deaths caused by pulmonary embolisms are preventable. Hospitals have an obligation to patients and their families to help prevent these deaths. The following policies may help: Hospitals can use electronic health records to identify patients who have the highest risk of developing blood clots. Patients can receive compression stockings that squeeze the legs and feet. They may…
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Can You Be Billed for Medical Mistakes?

Medical mistakes are not only a threat to your individual safety, they are also damaging to your wallet. According to an article published by Kaiser Health News, patients are frequently billed for medical mistakes. The article discusses the story of a man who suffered from a surgical error, and ended up on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Doctors had punctured the man’s colon while he was undergoing a colonoscopy. To save his life, doctors had to perform emergency surgery. During the surgery, he experienced cardiac arrest. He now suffers from a range of health problems, and requires a pacemaker and multiple stents in his right coronary artery. Health problems caused by the botched surgery made returning to work as a commercial trucker impossible. This mean he also lost his health insurance coverage. The man and his wife paid close to $600,000 out-of-pocket from this one preventable medical…
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Are Superbug Infections the Ultimate Patient Safety Threat?

The medical community expressed alarm over a case in Nevada involving an elderly woman who died from a superbug infection. Doctors could not keep the infection from spreading, and later determined she was infected with the superbug CRE. This case is a reminder that superbug infections could become the most serious patient safety threat of the 21st century. Doctors at the Nevada hospital that treated the woman sent samples of the bacteria to the Centers for Disease Control. According to officials at the CDC, the bacteria underwent testing against all antibiotics available to doctors in the United States. All 26 antibiotics failed to kill the superbug. An investigation into this case revealed the woman had spent an extended period of time in India. At one point during the trip, she broke her right femur and developed a bone infection in her femur. She underwent treatment multiple times at hospitals in…
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