There has always been some form of risk associated with medical care. Before the medical profession realized the importance of sanitation and sterilization, operations often resulted in infection and death for hundreds of people. While medicine and medical processes have come a long way in the last several decades, surgical errors continue to cause additional pain and suffering for patients in New York City and elsewhere, and sadly, some still die from infection and complications.
Picture this New Yorkers: you are injured in a minor accident and require stitches for a cut on your hand. You go to the emergency room of your local hospital for treatment and while there you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a fall that could have, and should have never happened. That was the verdict of a judge, who stated in his ruling that the doctor's negligence directly lead to the patient's injuries. The patient, who was 17-years old at the time, went to the emergency room for a cut on his middle finger and left thumb that he sustained while working at a window manufacturer.
Although this story is not directly related to medical malpractice but is more a medical or pharmaceutical product liability issue, it is none the less important to New York patients of pain clinics and other medical facilities that utilize injected steroids in its practice. No doubt many New York residents have seen the numerous reports involving tainted steroids and the deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis spreading across the country. Now the officers and executives behind the company, New England Compounding Center, responsible for the outbreak have been named as defendants in a civil lawsuit aimed at freezing their personal and business assets.
When a family member requires long-term care in a nursing home or other medical facility they want to be sure their loved one is receiving the best possible care available. Family members of one paralyzed patient wanted to know what type of care their loved one was receiving when they were not around. Apparently they were suspicious of abuse and when questions went unanswered they took matters into their own hands. Although this case did not originate in New York, the potential for the same or similar patient treatment is all too possible here.
In a data-driven society, it gets harder and harder for hospitals to avoid unpleasant truths about adverse events that harm patients.
Hospitals are supposed to help people get well, not get sicker. But avoidable medical mistakes and failure to follow, and enforce, simple common sense sanitary and safety precautions, on medical and other staff, continue to present a real threat to the health and safety of patients.