It’s hard to believe this happens, but it does.
Two doctors have reached a settlement with the Florida Board of Medicine after they allegedly treated the wrong patients at the wrong hospital rooms in two separate incidents. A nephrologist of Fort Myers, Florida, is facing a fine of $5,000 and a Surgeon of St. Petersburg, Florida, was fined $10,000.
The agreements to settle were reached between attorneys for the doctors and the Florida Department of Health. In the nephrologist’s case, the Associated Press reports there was no permanent harm to the patient, however, we don’t know the outcome of the other case. Both of the situations were caught by alert nurses.
Thankfully, the nurses saw the problems and were not afraid or intimidated to speak up. They are truly life savers.
A newly released report says that there will be 200,000 fatalities from hospital errors and infections this year, and they are mostly preventable.
Hearst Newspapers, in a national reporting effort, “Dead by Mistake,” finds medical errors happen all too frequently and there is a lack of systemic reform underway to ensure patient safety.
Ten years ago another federal report, “To Err is Human,” said that medical error could be improved and showed how to cut errors in half. Actually, Hearst reporters found the rate of medical error is increasing. Doctors regularly make errors such as the doctors above, confused about who to treat and what to treat them for. Other problems involve hospital infection, failure to color-code medical tubes, illegible handwriting, and prescription errors.
Part of the problem is the secrecy that is allowed to continue. In some cases, hospitals try to cover up a death by listing the cause as something else. And no one is watching.
What needs to happen? Making the reporting of medical errors mandatory and tell the public.
Only 20 states plus the District of Columbia do so. In Florida there is a mandatory adverse event reporting system in place, but hospitals report a limited number of incidents. Reports are available on the state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration Web site. Hospital acquired infections are also supposed to be reported, but with little follow-up, no one can say how often these things are reported.
When medical boards do meet, as they did here, they dole out a relatively small fine.
Cleaning up medical care must include the profession monitoring its own and telling the public about errors so they can make an informed decision about where they receive their health care.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice in Florida, you may qualify to receive compensation for your suffering and the financial costs associated with your injury or the misdeed committed against you. At Farah and Farah, our Florida skilled medical malpractice attorneys help protect the rights of victims of medical malpractice and other personal injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.