South Carolina residents may be concerned to hear that in one out of every 5,500 surgeries, patients leave the operating room with a "foreign object" still inside of them, according to widely cited figures from a multi-institutional study. The Joint Commission, which qualifies a large number of hospitals nationwide for Medicare, recently issued an alert for this widespread issue, termed the "unintended retention of foreign objects."
Readers in South Carolina may be interested in some research that shows substance abuse among doctors is 18 percent higher than it is in the general population. Yet, unlike other professions, such as teachers, athletes and even bus drivers, doctors aren't required to take urine tests that look for the presence of illegal drugs. Another statistic indicates that almost two out of every 10 doctors abuse alcohol and drugs. It is an issue that may impact a patient's standard of care.
A South Carolina orthopedic surgeon, whose whistle-blowing led to a federal lawsuit against a healthcare provider, was himself censured by a jury recently. The doctor was found liable in a medical malpractice case arising from a 2010 operation he performed on a patient's knee.
South Carolina residents may be interested in new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs that shows a dramatic increase in the prescribing of opiates to injured and suffering troops. According to the data, prescriptions of opiates to VA patients have increased by 270 percent since Sept. 11, 2001. The four main opiates being prescribed are hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine.
South Carolina parents may be interested to learn of a news story about an Oregon hospital being sued for medical malpractice. According to the report, a family is suing the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland in connection with the birth procedure of their son performed Sept. 21.
South Carolina residents may be alarmed to learn that the number of deaths caused by hospital mistakes has been greatly underestimated. While not all mistakes made in hospitals lead to harm to patients or are considered medical malpractice, the fact is that even low estimates state that nearly 100,000 people die annually as a result of errors made by hospital workers. This number comes from the Institute of Medicine's 1999 "To Err is Human" report. According to newer studies, however, that number sorely understates the number of avoidable deaths.