Most of the concerns New York City residents bring to us here at Futterman, Sirotkin, and Seinfeld regarding their healthcare surrounds their treatment, not their security. Like most, you may think that the only dangerous intruders in a hospital are those microscopic bugs threatening to follow you home. However, with all the news that has surfaced in recent years regarding cyberattacks, is it realistic to think that the healthcare industry is immune to such threats? If it is not, is your local hospital or medical center is taking adequate step to protect you from such risks?
A common misconception that may be held by many in New York City is that all medical malpractice lawsuits end with large payouts to plaintiffs. Hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers often are not keen on the idea of admitting wrongdoing, for doing so could serve as a public relations blow that may erode public trust in their ability to provide effective patient care. Such individuals and organizations often tend to have significant resources at their disposal to assist in fighting such claims, as well as expert opinions to justify their decisions. All of this can combine to create quiet a compelling counterargument.
Past posts on this blog have detailed the risks that you may face of acquiring an infection while you are a patient in any of the hospitals or medical centers in Queens. Controlling these risks may, from an outside perspective, seem relatively simple: just make sure all hospital rooms and treatment areas remain clean. However, given the complexity of infection control (particularly in areas where disease-causing pathogens are present in high concentrations, such as hospitals), ensuring that everything is “clean” may be easier said than done.
People seeking medical care at any of the hospitals or medical centers in and around New York City enter such facilities expecting not only treatment for their injuries or illnesses but also improvement. However, in many cases, not only may that not happen, but one could see his or her condition actually start to deteriorate. What many may not know is that the cause of such deterioration many be due to an infection one acquired in the hospital itself.
When you head to the hospital in Kew Gardens, any concern that you may have regarding what could potentially go wrong with your visit is likely limited to complications with your procedure or possibly acquiring an infection. These are the types of hospital errors that typically make headlines. However, there is another type of error whose damage may not be immediately apparent, but can ultimately cause just as much chaos in your life as any type of physical harm: the unauthorized disclosure of information from your medical record.
Almost every time you enter into a hospital or medical center in New York City, you are likely to hear messages sent out over the facility’s intercom system. Typically, these messages are meant to page doctors or other hospital staff members, yet every now and then, you may hear an overhead alert beginning with the word “code,” then a color, then a location within the facility. What do these codes mean, and how might they affect you as a patient?
When people present to the emergency departments in New York City’s hospitals, they are typically seen by triage nurses prior to being evaluated by a doctor. The role of the triage nurse is to assess a patient to determine the severity of his or her condition. If such a condition is deemed to be serious, the patient may be taken back to be treated right away. However, despite protocols in place that are meant to help triage nurses identify severe cases, the entire assessment may take only a few minutes. Often, this is not enough time to adequately tell how serious a case may be. If treatment does end up being delayed, the consequences can be life-altering.
If you have been the victim of what you believe to be negligence on the part of a doctor and/or the Queens facility in which he or she practices, you may be contemplating initiating legal action. Like many who come to us here at Futterman, Sirotkin and Seinfeld, LLP, however, you may be concerned that your lack of medical knowledge will undermine your claim. Not to worry; state law allows you to call in an expert witness to testify on your behalf.
Cases of negligence against hospitals and healthcare providers in New York City may often be difficult to argue simply because such disputes come down to the word of educated medical professionals against laymen. To help bolster their claims, plaintiffs in these cases may be wise to seek out other qualified clinicians to testify as experts on their behalf. The key to successfully using such testimony is ensuring that such witnesses meet the qualifications of being considered experts. If they do not, then one risks having any evidence or testimony they offer being discredited.
The image of a doctor snapping a surgical glove onto his or her hand has become emblazoned in the minds of most everyone in New York City. Yet despite gloves being so closely associated with healthcare, many of those that we here at Futterman, Sirotkin and Seinfeld, LLP work often seem to know little about when and when it is not appropriate for a healthcare provider to use gloves during treatment. Knowing what the general guidelines for glove use may be could potentially help you determine a cause should you suffer a hospital-acquired infection.