New York Hospital Safety

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

A recent report published in Crain’s New York Business notes that only 11.3% of all hospitals ranked in the state got an “A” for patient safety, as rated by an independent, national hospital safety organization that grades approximately 3,000 hospitals nationwide.

A recent NBC News report says that one in four hospitalized patients experience harmful events.

Dismal numbers.

You must be more on guard against medical malpractice than ever before.

Why Hospital Visits Can Be Dangerous

Table of Contents

There are several reasons why malpractice is much more likely in 2023 than ever.

  • Hospitals are more understaffed than ever. Doctors and nurses have too many patients and are rushing to complete all their care tasks.
  • Most doctors and nurses are sleep deprived. So are all the other healthcare workers they work with.
  • Stress and anxiety are part of the job, and they can rob otherwise talented, conscientious individuals of mental capacity and empathy.
  • Insurance companies insert themselves into the care process, creating roadblocks and requiring additional work from doctors.

Plus, health care is a challenging profession. It’s more art than science. Symptoms aren’t always consistent. The same symptoms can point to multiple health conditions. A surgeon leaving a sponge inside a patient is obvious, but failure to diagnose or misdiagnoses could be a good-faith error.

Regardless, patient lives are at stake. We can extend all the empathy in the world toward healthcare workers and the conditions they must face. Nevertheless, you have every right to seek compensation when you’re injured by malpractice. Besides. Not all errors are good-faith errors. Some doctors refuse to listen when a patient tells them something is wrong.

Compensation may be the only thing that lets you retain some semblance of your old life after something goes wrong. Don’t be afraid to pursue it. In a hospital setting, you’d generally be pursuing the hospital for the money rather than an individual doctor or nurse. Of course, the hospital may try to claim that the doctor is an independent contractor with hospital privileges rather than a hospital employee.

It will be up to your attorney to sort out whether to sue the doctor (and the doctor’s medical malpractice policy) or the hospital. In truth, in a hospital setting, multiple people are involved with care and may commit multiple mistakes. We look at the total story of a person’s care when building our case. We also look at the hospital’s own records: an employment contract or pay stubs can undermine a hospital’s claim that they aren’t at fault.

Harmful Events

Harmful events at a hospital fall into one of these categories.

  • Preventable events, such as bed sores and falls.
  • Medication issues, including preventable medication mistakes.
  • Surgical issues, both the unpreventable and the preventable.
  • Infections acquired at the hospital, which are somewhat preventable.

Remember, malpractice is about more than the outcome. A bad outcome is always possible if a person is sick or injured. Malpractice is about whether or not a doctor met the standard of care for the specific circumstances presented in the case facts.

This is why medical malpractice cases tend to involve a lot of expert witnesses. Both sides want to testify about the standard of care in any given case and whether another reasonable medical provider would make the same or similar decisions.

We also look for evidence of negligence. For example, a doctor’s pattern of alcohol or drug abuse is relevant. So are hospital records showing that maintenance and cleaning weren’t performed regularly or that staffers had too many patients.

Is New York working to make hospitals safer?

There are always efforts underway. One bill under consideration is AO6571, the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act. This bill would set minimum staffing requirements and would require facilities to implement direct-care nurse-to-patient ratios in all units. It would also authorize nurses to refuse work assignments if the assignments exceed their abilities or if minimum staffing is not present.

Individual hospitals often make changes in response to low health grades as well.

Nevertheless, we don’t expect to see a reduction in medical malpractice suits anytime soon. The current healthcare climate is just too rough for any other outcome.

Get Help Today

If you’ve been harmed by the negligence of a hospital, doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional, contact our firm to schedule a case review. We’ll help you determine if you have a strong case and will help you determine your next steps. You don’t have to do guesswork.

Hopefully, your next hospital visit is routine and as uneventful as a hospital visit can be. If it isn’t, we’ll be there for you.

See also:

The Dangerous and Deadly Consequences of Medical Misdiagnoses

When Medical Professionals Breach the Accepted Standard of Care

Proactive Measures You Can Take to Prevent Medical Errors

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