May 5, 2013 |
One in an occasional series on attempts to solve a medical mystery. 'I can't move my head" was the first thing our 2-year-old daughter, Sarah, said to me on a cold wintry morning several years ago, as she awakened from a deep sleep. Instinctively, I felt her forehead. Her skin was on fire. I was a second-year pediatric resident at the time. Our training prepared us to consider the worst first, and then to work backward to the probable. "Meningitis, encephalitis, septic shock!
November 13, 2012 |
Anna Mazur could hardly see out of her left eye because of a blocked vein and mounting pressure from glaucoma. But when she went to the University of Pennsylvania's Scheie Eye Institute for surgery in March 2011, surgeons operated on her relatively healthy right eye instead. There were complications, and, according to a specialist retained by her attorney, she became legally blind as a result. The hospital declined to comment, citing a lawsuit filed on Mazur's behalf, but the mistake illustrates how in an age of presurgical checklists, enhanced training, and other preventive measures, even a prominent medical center still can be the site of what the health-care industry calls "never" events.
September 11, 2012
Back in the mid-1990s, Lucian Leape, a Harvard pediatric surgeon, made a name for himself as one of the leaders of the movement to reduce medical errors. His message was simple enough: Don't blame the doctors. Errors are a sign of a problem with the system. The experts then looked for ways to reduce mistakes during procedures, like using checklists to ensure surgeons were operating on, say, the correct leg, and giving patients the drugs proven to produce the best results. But getting established doctors to change proved harder than Leape expected, which is why he was at the Jefferson School of Population Health Friday talking to 85 medical and health graduate students.
March 7, 2012 |
HARRISBURG - A panel credited with reducing medical errors at Pennsylvania hospitals says its own health is endangered - by Gov. Corbett's plan to fold it into the state Department of Health. The board of the Patient Safety Authority adopted a resolution Tuesday saying such a move would destroy its autonomy. The privately funded authority, which collects and studies hospital data, has gained a national reputation for improving patient safety. "We felt strongly we should resist this movement," said the authority's acting chairman, Stanton Smullens, chief medical officer at Jefferson Health System in Philadelphia.
November 30, 2011 |
Emily Jerry was just 2 years old when she died from a medication error made by a pharmacy technician in a Cleveland hospital. She had undergone surgeries and four rounds of chemotherapy to treat what doctors said was a highly curable malignant tumor at the base of her spine. Emily's past treatments had been so successful that her last MRI showed the tumor had miraculously disappeared, her parents say. This last treatment on her second birthday was just to be sure that no traces of cancer were left inside her. Tragically, the technician mixed her final dose of chemotherapy improperly, in a saline solution that was 23 times more concentrated than it should have been.
August 27, 2011
Medical errors kill A new study by the New England Journal of Medicine has found most medical malpractice claims submitted by patients to doctors' insurance companies are dropped without payment ("1 in 5 malpractice cases leads to a payout," Aug. 18). This confirms what we have known in Pennsylvania for some time: Insurance companies continue to gouge doctors with ever-increasing premium rates even as they report record profits and reduce payouts. This study does not evaluate the merit of the claims that are dropped.
April 13, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced a broad new initiative Tuesday to reduce medical errors, partnering with private insurers, business leaders, hospitals, and patient advocates to tackle a problem that kills thousands of Americans every year. The campaign, funded by the health-care overhaul the president signed last year, aims to cut the number of harmful preventable conditions such as infections that patients acquire in the hospital by 40 percent over the next three years.
September 24, 2010
Republican leaders are still talking about writing an epitaph for the sweeping reform of health care in America. That takes a lot of gall, given all the positive reviews coming in this week for the first major consumer benefits provided under the federal overhaul. President Obama pointed out Wednesday that implementation of the plan's patients' rights provisions "will end the worst insurance company abuses and help put consumers in control of their own care. " But Republicans in Congress - hopeful of taking back the House in November - are ignoring that and instead talking about cutting off funding needed to enact the Affordable Care Act, signed by the president six months ago. They want to repeal key provisions designed to make health insurance affordable and available to nearly 33 million uninsured Americans.
April 21, 2010 |
In 2009, the number of new medical-malpractice lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania courts fell for the fifth straight year, according to a report released Tuesday by Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. The report provides new evidence that the malpractice climate in Pennsylvania has cooled since the early part of the decade, when rising costs led many doctors and hospital administrators to worry that the state's medical system might collapse. Philadelphia - long considered the center of the state's malpractice crisis because of the large number of generous verdicts here - saw the most dramatic declines in new suits and in large jury awards, as well as a rise in defense verdicts.
March 4, 2010 |
The health-care debate has been marred by the distortions, demagoguery, and outright lies that are typical of modern American political discourse. For example, lacking any substantive ideas of their own, reform opponents have seized on tort reform - taking away the rights of injured patients - as their solution to America's health-care problems, despite ample evidence that it's no solution at all. Let's call this tort-reform fixation what it is: a sign that many Republicans are bereft of ideas and obsessed with an issue that will do nothing to lower care costs or cover the uninsured.