Registered nurses working RN hospital jobs know that weekends and holidays are terrible times to be admitted to a hospital – whether for a life-threatening condition or simply for observation.
As a legal nurse consultant for more than 33 years, I’ve consulted on countless medical malpractice cases with multi-million dollar verdicts. In the majority of those cases the injured plaintiff still didn’t get what he wanted most – an apology from the hospital and treating physician.
The next time you go to the grocery store, drugstore or warehouse club take a look at the healthcare services being offered. You may or may not be surprised to see that there’s a doctor or a nurse practitioner present and that your favorite drugstore or grocery store is now in the healthcare business.
When’s the last time you’ve read your hospital’s mission statement? And, as an RN, how would you rate your healthcare facility’s performance? Does your hospital live up to the hype? Or instead, do they sacrifice quality for profits?
I recently went for a routine mammogram. I should have realized things were going to go badly when I had to check in at a central area rather than the mammogram waiting room. After the initial check-in, I then waited 50 minutes to be called to yet another room where I would receive my wristband ID that was the ticket into the mammogram room.
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine determined that interns at two large academic medical facilities spent just 12% of their time in direct patient care – that is examining and interacting with patients. This is an average of just 8 minutes a day spent with each patient each day. Where do they spend the majority of their time? Mostly on indirect patient care:
My most memorable case involved a 21-year-old Portuguese speaking woman who was about to have her second child. During the C-section closure, the patient sustained an injury to her bladder which resulted in the development of a vesicouterine fistula and vesicovaginal fistula. She suffered for five days without being able to communicate her needs, pain or fear to the medical staff. She was eventually transferred to a tertiary care hospital but had to undergo a hysterectomy to repair the injury to her bladder. The failure to recognize the injury lasted five days.
“The Strategy That Will Fix Health Care” is an intriguing and thought-provoking article published in the October issue of Harvard Business Review
A recent study by the BMJ, validates what Certified Legal Nurse Consultants already know: the most common reason doctors are sued is failure to diagnose a disease or other condition. Not surprisingly, the most frequently missed diagnoses are cancer and heart attacks. The most common outcome of this failure to diagnose is – you guessed it – death. The study reported that most diagnostic errors are due to faulty clinical reasoning and misinterpretation of diagnostic tests.
Approximately four months after becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant I received a malpractice case involving the misdiagnosis of an intracranial aneurysm that left a 23-year-old patient in a vegetative state. This occurred while she was pregnant with her first child. Due to the age of the patient and the birth of the child, this case was potentially worth millions.