April 16, 2001 |
At 3 a.m., intern Michael Greger, awakened for the fifth time that night, listened as a nurse ticked off a long list of blood test results for one of his patients, then fell back into an exhausted stupor. Later in the morning, when he checked the patient's chart, Greger was horrified: He had failed to realize that one of the blood tests clearly showed the man was in imminent danger of having a fatal arrhythmia, a heart rhythm disturbance. The patient was rushed to intensive care. * It was 2 a.m.
February 28, 2011 |
No one wants to think about the possibility that something will go wrong — that an error will be made — with his or her medical care. But the fact is, mistakes are inevitable in medicine. Often they're easily corrected or result in little or no lasting harm. Sometimes, though, they have tragic consequences. The medical malpractice system provides a way for patients who've suffered injuries as a result of medical mistakes to be compensated. Unfortunately, it's a system that's seriously flawed.
April 8, 2011 |
Hospitals don’t appear to be as safe as we, the potential patients, would like, a new study has found. The question is: What can we do to protect ourselves? Research published this week in Health Affairs found that as many as one in three admissions have some kind of injury because of medical error, not an underlying condition. Using a new way of scanning patient paperwork for notations on problems such as an abnormal lab test, researchers found 10 times more errors among three U.S. hospitals than other methods would indicate.
October 31, 2004 |
The first effective vaccine against malaria made news earlier this month as scientists reported success in fighting the mosquito-borne illness that strikes 400 million people annually worldwide. In clinical trials in Africa, the vaccine prevented nearly half of new infections in children and reduced the number of serious cases by nearly 60%. But because more clinical trials are needed and manufacturing plants take five to six years to build, the new malaria vaccine isn't expected to be widely available until 2010 at the earliest.
January 28, 2008 |
A technician mistakes an "a" for an "o" in a drug name. A doctor misplaces a decimal point in a prescription order. A nurse reaches for a vial in a cabinet as she's done hundreds of times before, only this time the light is dim and she fails to notice that the powder-blue label is more of a sky blue. The slip-ups are often simple, and always human, and all have happened in U.S. hospitals.
March 24, 2003 |
When Duke University surgeons last month transplanted an incompatible set of organs into teenager Jesica Santillan, who would later die, the doctors and hospital publicly confessed the mix-up and apologized. Such candor is part of a growing trend among hospitals to own up to the truth when patients are harmed by the medical care that is supposed to help them. Saying "I'm sorry," along with acknowledging the error, can also help ease the pain for patients and their families.
December 20, 1999 |
Public concern about medical mistakes has intensified in the past several weeks, spurred by the publication of a bluntly worded report by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences. An institute panel concluded that medical errors, many of them preventable, kill an estimated 98,000 Americans annually. That number is more than the toll from breast cancer, traffic accidents or AIDS.
June 11, 2000 |
Howard Pierce was in Tampa, Fla., demonstrating his company's software for helping doctors make diagnoses, when one physician asked for help on an especially vexing case. A middle-aged woman had odd swelling on her right side, specifically around her shoulders and lips, explained Dr. Willard S. Harris, chief of medical service at the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital in Tampa.