Teaching Hospitals Perpetuating Bad Habits
We rely on our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to provide the best care possible when we are faced with an illness, medical crisis or surgery. There are rules and regulations in place to ensure that medical professionals and facilities are in tip-top shape. From providing clean, germ-free environments that reduce the chance of infection to ensuring that surgeries are performed on the correct limb, these regulations, help ensure that our hospitals are safe places.
However, according to an article from STAT magazine, medical students at teaching hospitals all over the country are continuing to perpetrate poor habits passed on to them by more experienced faculty. At some hospitals, the safety violations continue to pile up and, when they are not addressed by the administration, continue with the next generation of doctors. This is not a good sign for the health and well-being of patients as medical errors resulting from these bad habits and incomplete training can lead to worsening health conditions or even death.
Medical Errors – Bad Habits Bad Results
Hospitals are subject to many inspections every year to ensure that they are providing the highest levels of care, but inspections do not always yield the desired results. One inspection, conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that in the years between 2014 and 2017, several teaching hospitals racked up dozens of safety violations – putting patients at great risk. CMS inspections are conducted every three or four years and cover federal safety regulations which include everything from protecting patient rights to the proper way to store drugs. Inspections can occur with greater frequency when triggered by a complaint.
Over the four year span of 2014 through 2017, over 5500 safety violations occurred at the inspected teaching hospitals. At one hospital, for example, doctors and nurses regularly broke the decontamination rules in the neonatal intensive care unit – failing to wash, rinse and lather their hands and also failed to decontaminate their personal items including cellphones. Not surprisingly, one infant in the ward contracted a superbug. Even after this horrible incident, the inspector did not find evidence of improved sanitary habits. Comforting, isn’t it?
Speaking Up When Medical Errors Are Exposed
While some teaching hospitals do empower their trainees to speak up when they see a medical error, a near miss, or negligence, other hospitals don’t encourage whistleblowers. This lack of openness unfortunately translates to poor patient safety.
Preventable medical errors must not be accepted by the staff or patients of any hospital. In 1999, a report titled “To Err is Human” concluded that 98,000 Americans were killed while receiving medical care. This report resulted in hospitals tracking errors more closely and improving the reporting of errors at their facilities.
Medical Negligence Should Not Be Learned
With all of this in mind, the words “mistake” and “error” sound small, but in truth, can change peoples’ lives in a big way. From loss of income to, unfortunately, loss of life, these mistakes can result in costly medical bills or worse for the patient and the patient’s family.
Keep in mind that this particular study only tracked medical errors in teaching hospitals. This study looked at the fact that our next generation of doctors are learning bad habits at teaching hospitals with safety violations. But medical errors happen in non-teaching hospitals, for profit hospitals, not-for-profit hospitals, independent doctor offices and other medical facilities too. And they happen often.
If you feel that you or a family member have been the victim of a medical mistake, contact our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys. We can help.
Here at the Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys are committed to holding doctors accountable for their failure to protect their patients. If you or a loved one have been a victim of such negligence, call our experienced Cleveland malpractice lawyers today to discuss your options for legal recourse and for obtaining the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online today.