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Medical Errors

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NEWS
July 29, 2005 | By Dawn Fallik INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Some state medical experts say they don't understand why a new federal bill on medical errors - expected to be signed into law within a month - isn't as strong as state law. A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday asks hospitals and other health organizations to voluntarily report medical errors to a patient safety organization. The information would be entered into a confidential database so analysts could track and address problems. But in 20 states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, reporting health-care mistakes is mandatory and will remain so, leaving some to wonder why the federal bill is less stringent.
NEWS
January 30, 2000 | By Andrea Gerlin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Immediately after opening its session for the year, Congress plowed into the problem of medical errors, holding two Senate hearings on the issue last week. On Tuesday, Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) said he would introduce a bill that could be a prelude to mandating disclosure of medical errors that harm patients. Within two weeks, he said, he would introduce legislation to fund research to help determine the best way to curb the tens of thousands of deaths each year nationwide that stem from medical errors.
NEWS
June 1, 2004
Let's say you are a hospital patient who has been harmed by a medical error. Try to imagine your reaction in either of these two scenarios: You and your family think some serious mistake in your treatment has been made and you are desperate to learn more. But doctors and hospital staffers won't tell you what happened. Within days, even hours, of the mistake your physician comes to your room to admit error. Based on what the hospital knows so far, he explains what happened and apologizes.
NEWS
December 12, 1999
President Clinton raised the stakes in the developing national debate over how to reduce deaths and injuries from medical mistakes. He announced a series of government initiatives aimed at the problem. On Tuesday, he signed an executive order calling on a White House task force to recommend solutions and to report back within 60 days. He told government agencies that administer health plans for 85 million Americans to take error-reduction measures. "We have the finest health-care system in the world, the best professionals to deliver that care," he said.
NEWS
April 13, 2011 | By Noam N. Levey, Tribune Washington Bureau
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.
NEWS
January 19, 2005
If you need to be hospitalized these days, maybe you'd rather be in Philadelphia. A three-year, regional effort to prevent hospital patients from being harmed by medication errors is producing significant results at 49 area hospitals. On both city and suburban hospital wards, doctors, nurses and staff are taking steps that could reduce the mistakes that injure and kill patients. That means implementing more careful methods for ordering patient medications, expanding safety training, and promoting a more open climate for reporting errors.
NEWS
January 6, 2003 | By Susan FitzGerald INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Amid growing awareness that medical errors are a problem not just for adult patients, a federal agency has compiled a list of suggestions on how parents can protect their children from mistakes both in the hospital and in the doctor's office. "Very young children can't speak for themselves, so they need someone to be monitoring what's happening to them," said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, acting director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. "Parents need to be an active part of their child's health-care team.
NEWS
August 3, 2005
If a jumbo jet dropped out of the sky every other day, you can bet all your frequent-flier miles that the nation's leaders would leap into action with a plan to safeguard air travelers. So what's taken Washington policymakers so long to deal with a problem that contributes to as many as 98,000 deaths nationally each year? The problem is medical errors. The scale of the problem has been known at least since 1999, when a landmark Institute of Medicine study cited that number as the upper range of how many people are killed by medical errors annually.
NEWS
February 7, 2000 | By Andrew B. Wigglesworth
Since the release of the National Institute of Medicine report "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health Care System," there has been a great deal of local and national media coverage about medical errors. As the report indicates, America's health-care providers and hospitals are the best in the world. But as with any system that relies on human beings, our health-care institutions are not infallible. In some cases, errors occur, and sometimes the consequences are tragic. Any error is one too many.
NEWS
December 7, 1999 | By Andrea Gerlin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
President Clinton is expected to sign an executive order today directing a task force to find new strategies to reduce medical errors and to instruct government agencies to evaluate and implement error-reduction techniques. White House officials said Clinton would announce the measures in the Rose Garden after a planned morning meeting with representatives of health-care providers, consumers, purchasers, lawmakers, and the Institute of Medicine. "The President believes we should move quickly in this area and is unveiling a series of initiatives to reduce medical error and improve patient safety," said Christopher C. Jennings, deputy assistant to the President for health policy.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
May 5, 2013 | By Dr. Daniel Taylor, For The Inquirer
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!
NEWS
November 13, 2012 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
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.
NEWS
March 7, 2012 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
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.
NEWS
November 30, 2011 | By Michael Cohen, For The Inquirer
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.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
April 13, 2011 | By Noam N. Levey, Tribune Washington Bureau
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.
NEWS
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.
BUSINESS
April 21, 2010 | By Josh Goldstein INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
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.
NEWS
March 4, 2010 | By Anthony Tarricone
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.
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