In the midst of many recent letters to the Walnut Creek Journal under a heading that targeted tragic medical mistakes, a mother by the name of JoAnne Wagnon who had lost her son because of them had this to say about the annual number of victims that this horrible epidemic claims:
“If commercial aviation carelessly killed nearly 440,000 people yearly, it wouldn’t survive.”
She’s right. Even after the Affordable Care Act lit a fire under facility administrators as it reads that hospitals can be penalized if their patients come back to them in thirty days for the same thing, the mistakes continue. Many folks don’t like going to the doctor anyway, especially after reading stats like the one JoAnne pointed out above. And, even though no dollar amount can measure up to the loss of loved one, repeated errors in hospitals cost over $19 billion a year. The big question here in this awful wave of those who’ve been hurt, infected, or that have died under the care of trusted medical physicians and nurses is, why does it seem that no one is doing anything about it?
February of last year the California Department of Public Health fined several hospitals for errors. This wasn’t anything new for a few of them, and with the gargantuan amount of money that hospitals make the heads of the facilities probably just brushed off the penalties as chump change. For example, OCSF Medical Center in San Francisco is used to getting in trouble, receiving their mind boggling eighth violation last winter. This time it was for someone coming back for a second surgery because of a foreign object they didn’t completely remove. Saint Mary’s in San Francisco had to pay $100,000 for the same mishap. They along with Placentia Linda in Orange County, Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, Fresno Surgical Hospital, and Hanford’s Adventist Medical Center also can’t seem to get policies like safely distributing medicine or patient procedures (some of them being surgical techniques) correct. These hospitals also easily paid their fines, which ranged from $50,000-$70,000.
This year in February 2014 California Senator Barbara Boxer showed that she was sick of it, and started making visits to the facilities herself. She lived up to her last name and threw an awakening blow to the 283 heads of the hospitals in her state, warning them they had two weeks to take action. The sweat beads began to form on their foreheads, and the next thing you know a few months later the LA Times is reporting that errors are starting to go down. It’s funny how they seem to take things like pressure ulcers, injuries from falls, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and surgical site infections more seriously when the heavy-hitters from Washington show up.
Behind heart disease and cancer, hospital errors are the third leading cause of death in the nation. It can happen to anyone, and often goes unreported. If you feel that you or someone you love has received hospital care that was unsuccessful, unprofessional, or full of errors, you don’t have to put up with it. The attorneys at Makarem and Associates are experienced in helping clients who have had medical mishaps, and take pride in being a beacon of litigation security for you, your family and your friends. Call or email us at310.312.0299 or [email protected] if doctors or nurses at any care facility haven’t given you the time or complete medical effort that you need and deserve.