Elderly Oregon residents who reside in nursing homes or who are hospitalized may be at risk for becoming disoriented and walking away from their facilities. A new environment coupled with unfamiliar faces can create a dangerous recipe for confusion and subsequent flight of the senior patient. Health care professionals who recognize the situations that trigger wandering and who employ a few simple measures can help safeguard older adults who may be prone to leaving undetected.
Oregon patients may be interested in a case where the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that an injured patient cannot sue a surgeon for the failure to have proper medical malpractice insurance. In a split decision, the high court held that the state medical board has jurisdiction over doctors who lack medical malpractice insurance, not the court system. However, the Sept. 29 ruling also stated that hospitals may be sued for hiring doctors who do not have medical malpractice insurance.
Seattle Children's Hospital has warned about 12,000 families that their children may have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis at its Bellevue Clinic. It is telling those who may have been exposed to get tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV. The hospital in Oregon's neighbor to the north says the issue stems from sterilization processes that were not always followed. It further stated that the call for testing was out of extreme caution and that no infections had been reported.
As patient volumes increase in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, some public hospitals are turning to a surprising source to help them keep pace: Toyota. By adapting the Japanese automaker's production system to health care, hospital administrators have been able to cut costs and improve patient care. The philosophy could impact patient care in Oregon and nationwide.
Oregon residents may be surprised to learn that approximately 1 million medical injuries occur each year. Many of these injuries are caused by doctor or hospital negligence or mistakes, and health care facilities across the country are taking proactive steps to reduce the likelihood of a medical malpractice lawsuit being filed against them. Particular attention is being paid to reducing medication errors and unnecessary surgeries, which combine to claim the lives of almost 20,000 patients each year.
Families in Oregon that have loved ones who are living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities may be interested to learn about a proposed rule that was recently issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. On July 16, CMS published a set of new standards that will set stricter guidelines for patient care and create more government oversight of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about doctors who receive payments (cash and otherwise) from pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers. These for-profit companies are not buying lunch for physicians and paying them to speak on behalf of their products simply because they want to reward doctors for the important work they do. Instead, these companies understand that such tactics work. It takes money to make money, and pharmaceutical companies definitely make money.
Medicine is a science. And like all sciences, one of its most important aspects is objectivity. If a doctor prescribes a certain course of treatment or a certain medication, it should be because it has proven to be effective, it is reasonably safe and it will meet the patient's medical needs. In most cases, these are the only factors a doctor needs to consider.
Earlier this week, we began a discussion about the statutes of limitation in medical malpractice claims. Here in Oregon, patients have just two years after becoming aware of injury to file a lawsuit. However, no medical malpractice lawsuits can be filed more than five years past the date of injury.
One of the most frustrating roadblocks for would-be plaintiffs in many civil lawsuits is the statute of limitations. These are laws that put a time limit on how long a plaintiff is allowed to file a lawsuit after the harm that prompted the suit. There are also criminal statutes of limitation (after which a person cannot be prosecuted for a crime), but our conversation this week will focus solely on civil matters. Specifically, we'll be discussing statutes of limitation on medical malpractice claims.