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November 2012 Archives

Can hospitals do anything to combat so-called superbugs?

When people in Kentucky or Ohio are ill enough to be admitted to a hospital, it's logical for them to assume that they will not get sicker merely from being admitted to a hospital. However, a strain of drug-resistant bacteria known by the ominous nicknames researchers have given them -- "superbugs" -- is making a hospital visit potentially dangerous.

Lawsuit alleges that bedsores led to death of hospital patient

A woman was allegedly the victim of bedsores that went undiagnosed for a protracted period at a hospital. The family has filed a lawsuit alleging that hospital errors led to the woman's death. The hospital, another care facility and a nurse are named in the suit.According to the claims in the suit, the victim was admitted to the hospital with clear skin, but had developed bedsores by the time she was discharged to another care facility. No one at the hospital or the care facility diagnosed the bedsores or treated them in any way. The victim was later discharged but returned to the hospital with pneumonia, at which time her bedsores were observed. She underwent surgery to correct the bedsores, but the treatment failed and she died in January 2011 from alleged complications. The family claims that earlier intervention would have prevented the problems that led to the victim's death. They are seeking more than $50,000 in damages, including medical and funeral expenses.

Patients returning after discharge from hospitals

Most people worry that hospital errors will occur during their stay. However, many do not realize that patients also have a good chance of being forced to return to the hospital within 30 days of discharge due to complications or problems related to the patient's stay. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine states that about 20 percent of Medicare patients return to the hospital within a month of their discharges due to medication errors, lingering infections, and misunderstandings about continuing care. Being readmitted for people can be quite expensive, depending on their health care coverage. Patients themselves often have to pay $1,000 out of a total bill of an average of nearly $15,000, but people whose plans have higher deductibles often end up owing more than that.

Is liposuction really as safe as people think it is?

A new study reveals that the number of doctor and hospital errors centering on liposuction procedures may be at the same rate as 25 years ago, leading to speculation that the procedures are unsafe. Researchers believe that oversimplification for the public as well as plastic surgeons with an eye toward making a profit contribute to the unsafe situation.The researchers who co-authored the study state that much could be done to save patient lives that is not currently being implemented. For example, the researchers found that toxicity from anesthesia, infection and blood lidocaine levels have all contributed to patient death. Doctors sometimes cut corners by using unlicensed anesthesia personnel as well.

Children with chronic conditions at high risk for medical errors

Research shows that children who have chronic health conditions are more likely to be victims of hospital errors than those who are basically healthy. According to a report published in a medical journal, the medical error rate for children with chronic conditions was 5.3 percent, as opposed to 1.3 percent in children without chronic conditions.At least 43 percent of children in the United States have some form of chronic health problem, including asthma, diabetes, or even cancer. This means that the higher medical error rate could impact nearly half the country's juvenile population.

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