South Carolina medical patients should know that doctors who act unprofessionally may not be penalized. Between 2001 and 2011, almost 6,000 physicians were placed on restriction at medical facilities for incidents related to patient well-being. However, more than 3,000 of those individuals received no sanctions against their license and were not even fined, despite having their clinical privileges revoked. Of these individuals, 234 of them were deemed to be an immediate threat to patients.
Medical consumers in South Carolina will be concerned to learn that, according to Institute for Safe Medication Practices, many hospitals don't have policies in place regarding the safe use of syringes. Reusing contaminated syringes is one of the major causes of the spread of Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV in medical environments. This hospital negligence is a form of medical malpractice that can gravely harm patients.
Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill has settled a malpractice case with a victim's family for $2.2 million. The victim in the case died due to surgical complications during a pacemaker implantation. This comes shortly after the hospital settled a separate malpractice case in March for $2.3 million. A spokeswoman for the hospital said that the medial malpractice case was uncommon for her hospital, which BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina recently recognized for its cardiac care.
In an annual ranking of disciplinary actions taken by state medical boards against doctors compiled by the advocacy group Public Citizen, the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners has been ranked in one of the bottom two spots for the past 8 years. The state's position began to fall in the Public Citizen rankings starting in 2001, when it was ranked no. 47, after being in the top 20 for much of the 1990s.
Common opinion is that technology and computerized equipment can minimize human error and increase the performance of medical professionals in hospitals around the globe. Yet, one study has found that even technological tools lead to medical errors, and they actually do so at a much higher rate than previously thought.
When clinicians fail to follow sanitary procedures, they may place the health of their patients at risk. Some cases of patient injury may alarm residents of South Carolina, but knowledge of these types of hospital neglect can help in the identification of cases of medical malpractice. According to a team leader at the CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, cases of infectious disease spread through unsafe injection practices are not as uncommon as once thought.
Adoptive parents are suing a university, a hospital system and the state over their child's sex-assignment surgery. The suit alleges that the surgery was medically unnecessary. It also claims that the hospital system was negligent by not properly informing the state officials in charge of the child at the time of the risks and consequences of the surgery.
In addition to whatever ailment a South Carolina resident has entered a hospital for, they may also have to worry about catching a superbug. Approximately one in every 20 people who enter a hospital will catch a superbug over the course of their stay. This has caused a growing concern about the issue of medical malpractice and cleanliness, and many hospitals have started taking steps to prevent the spread of these types of infections, though there is no consensus that any are effective yet.
South Carolina residents may be interested to hear about information that suggests that bullying between doctors and co-workers may pose safety risks for patients. In a survey of over 4,500 health care workers, 77 percent reported disruptive behaviors among doctors and 65 percent reported disruptive behaviors among nurses. Nearly one-third of those same workers said that such behaviors contributed to patient deaths, and more than two-thirds said that they led to medical errors. In one case, a perfusionist claimed that a cardiac surgeon clenching his fists and yelling at him menacingly made him feel threatened and traumatized him. A perfusionist is the person who operates the heart/lung machine during an open-heart surgery, so having his or her focus is extremely important in an operation. The Indiana Supreme Court later upheld a $325,000 settlement for the traumatized perfusionist. The tension between doctors and employees can potentially lead to more medical errors, which can, consequently, lead to more medical malpractice lawsuits.
South Carolina patients and patients elsewhere may not be being given the treatment they need if hospital workers have "alarm fatigue." According to a hospital accrediting group, nonstop beeping from hospital monitoring devices may lead to workers tuning out the noises. This increases the chances that patients will not be treated in a timely manner and that medical malpractice may occur. The group believes that, on average, at least 24 deaths a year occur due to alarm fatigue. However, according to reports from the FDA, the number may be far greater. Between January 2005 and June 2010, the FDA found links between 500 deaths and hospital alarms; however, the reports include equipment malfunctions, so the cause of death may not be related to alarm fatigue.