Malpractice Mistakes that Can Result in Lawsuits

Errors can happen, but it is essential to be prepared to avoid them to avoid malpractice lawsuits.

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Covering elder law, nursing home abuse and care

There are some common malpractice mistakes that could be avoided that are seen over and over in civil court malpractice claims. There are approximately ten different malpractice claims that are seen time and again that with extra diligence might be avoided. They include everything from training, equipment and procedures.

  1. Inadequate Education: This includes inadequate training, education and staffing in a healthcare facility. It is not uncommon for the staff to face critical care situations and it is essential to ensure that the staff is trained in all of the areas the facility treats, even when there is a high volume of cases and no time to do assessments as normal, if the staff is not qualified to handle these cases, it can spell immediate trouble.
  2. Non-Accredited Facilities: If the facility is not accredited, then there is no oversight and that can lead to large problems in doing everything right. Especially in facilities handling certain types of cases, where the facility should be overseen and accredited by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care, the American Association Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities and the Joint Commission. Facilities that are accredited also have that on their side, if there is a legal issue.
  3. Drugs or Emergency Equipment Unavailability: More procedures are being done in outpatient settings and even with a minor procedure patients can respond differently. This makes it crucial to be prepared for any type of situation or emergency, because when drugs or equipment are needed, they are needed immediately. It is also essential to have the appropriate amount of staff available and trained to act in an emergency situation. Ambulatory facilities are widening the procedures they are doing, which means they need to be prepared for the care of all patients needs.
  4. Inadequate Monitoring: There are many facilities that keep all of their equipment up to date, even surgical equipment in facilities that handle those types of patients. Where they often fall short is with missing or malfunctioning monitoring of the patients. When a patient is not properly monitored, especially if they are elderly or obese, then it is just guess work and nothing more. It could be too late to help the patient, without proper monitoring by the time the staff realizes that there is a medical emergency.
  5. Untrained Staff and Monitoring: The staff that has a duty to observe monitoring must be properly trained and this means training more than once a year. If training is only done annually, it leaves room for error, since within a few months the staff will begin to forget what they learned. When it involves interpreting the data from the monitors it can be confusing and it is essential those charged with this duty have a complete understanding of how to interpret the data. The other time that training is essential, is when there are new machines or different levels of training.
  6. Muted Alarms: Muted alarms are a bad idea and one that should not take place in any facility or under any condition. Though, there are medical professionals that tend to mute alarms, simply because they don’t want to hear them and have been practicing for an extended amount of time. The problem with this is, no matter how much experience, errors can still happen and without the alarm to warn it can result in disaster for the patient. Muting alarms has become so commonplace that it is referred to as “alarm fatigue” and is something that can be considered negligent for a medical professional to practice.
  7. Alarm Responses: People responding to alarms is not something that is natural and everyone reacts differently. Even in a medical facility situation, where some people freeze even though they have medical training and are certified or licensed. When a staff member has never seen an alarm situation and don’t practice what they have learned, then they can forget what to do, when to do it and what emergency equipment is needed. The one way to be prepared for an alarm emergency and have the correct response is to practice. This is done by using the most common events that can take place and play it out,  rehearsing not only what the staff members should be doing, but shifting the responsibilities so that each individual is comfortable depending on the procedure or situation. It is better to be hands-on, than to look back later and realize the situation should have been handled much differently in caring for the patient in an alarm response.
  8. Patient Views: Whenever a patient is in a situation where they require physical monitoring no matter what the situation is, whether in a post-operative setting or other facility. When a patient is in surgery, they are being observed by the anesthesiologist and the surgeon, but when the patient is taken to recover or to their room the curtains are often drawn around them in an effort to give them privacy. The patients in this setting and other situations where they are experiencing pain and the effects of drugs should not be closed off from view. This obstruction of view leaves the patient in a vulnerable position. If they experience a problem or if there is an emergency it can result in a slower response time that can be critical for the well-being of the patient. Whether the facility is short-staffed, members of the staff are untrained or inexperienced; the staff needs be aware of their responsibilities to avoid incidents with patients.
  9. Communications Between Surgeons and Anesthesiologist: It isn’t uncommon for the surgeon to be in control of everyone in the operating room, which includes not paying full attention to the person administering the anesthesia. As soon as the surgeon orders medication to be administered by the anesthesiologist, they assume control of the operating room and if something goes wrong, the surgeon is now liable. If there is an event and the surgeon would like to blame the anesthesiologist, they won’t be able to pass the blame. The same situation of liability can occur, when the surgeon is told by the anesthesiologist that a procedure is too dangerous for the patient and the surgeon proceeds.
  10. Facility Managers and Malpractice Attorneys: Many facilities do not have personnel in place as a risk manager, mostly because the owner of the facility is unable to justify this type of cost. In some facilities that is a mistake and the cost should be absorbed to have a risk manager. In the event that the facility is owned by a corporation or another company, then in many cases the parent company will have a risk department and retain attorneys, whose duty it is to assist in reducing liability.

If you want to learn more about nursing abuse or medical negligence, check out this great elder abuse attorney’s blog here. If you want to discuss leave a comment. We hope you are more educated than when you joined us.

     

    08. October 2013 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Nursing Clinical Ethics | Comments Off

    How Nursing Home Work Can Be Bad For Your Health

    Contrary to popular belief, nursing home work can sometimes cause more injuries than construction or mining. Nursing home work can be dangerous work because it can lead to more back injuries than many of the other jobs in warehouse, construction or mining industries. In 1993, almost 17% of nursing home workers were out of work due to an illness or injury on the job. That amounted to over 200,000 injuries and illnesses. There could be many more unreported cases where nursing home workers injured their back while working.
    Back Injuries in Nursing Homes on the Rise
    One study of nursing personnel showed that only one third of those workers who had back pain on the job filed and incident report.3 Most used their own sick time. Many workers are afraid they will lose their jobs if they report an incident. They simply can’t afford to be sick. In recent years, the number of back injuries that occur in the nursing industry has gone up. If you have suffered a back injury at work then contact a work injury attorney today to seek legal assistance for your case. You are entitled to receive certain benefits if you have been injured on the job and a worker’s compensation lawyer will help you understand your benefits and file your claim for you.
    Nursing Homes Growing in Popularity
    In general, nursing homes are one of the fastest growing sector of the health care industry. People are living longer and the need for assisted care living facilities for the elderly is increasing. More sick residents are entering nursing homes as well due to shorter hospital stays. New medical procedures, lack of money and lack of hospital space are all reasons why residents are turning to nursing homes for care. Many elderly patients are too sick to return home but cannot stay at hospitals due to the high cost and therefore end up in nursing homes.
    Due to the increase in the number of nursing home patients, the demand that is placed on nursing care workers has increased as well. Often they are required to lift patients, putting added strains on their backs. Due to this demand, more injuries are being experienced by nursing home care workers.
    If you have hurt your back or become ill while working at a nursing home then contact our work injury attorneys to receive a consultation. We can help ensure that your rights are protected.

    16. June 2013 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Nursing Home Abuse | Leave a comment

    Change in Nursing Home Care Leading to More Work Injuries

    In recent years the nature of the type of nursing home care that is being provided to patients is slowly changing. The patients that are being admitted to nursing homes are sicker because they are not well enough to return home yet and staying at a hospital is too costly. Other reasons include:
    • Many hospitals are shortening the length of a hospital stay because of changes in medical procedures
    • Shorter stays because of lack of money
    • There is a lack of available beds for patients
    • Medicare also limits the number of hospital days that it will pay for
    Sub-Acute Care
    Many nursing homes are beginning to offer sub-acute care to patients. Industry statistics have indicated that 10 to 20 percent of acute-care hospital patients are being moved out of hospitals and into nursing care facilities. These nursing homes are equipped to provide some of the care that hospitals provide at a lower cost. For nursing assistants this change translates to:
    • Sicker residents
    • More dependant residents
    • More lifting and transferring
    • More risk of getting a sprain or strain injury
    Nursing Assistant Work
    Nursing assistants are usually responsible for all of the lifting, transferring, and heavy work in a nursing home. Many nursing homes have a high turnover rate due to the demanding nature of the job. When the employee turnover is high, it often has a negative effect on patient care. There are fewer experienced and well-trained staff. If not enough nursing assistants or equipment are available on a shift, workers tend to do the heavy lifting alone exposing themselves to a higher risk of becoming injured on the job.
    If you have experienced a work related injury then contact our work injury attorneys today to discuss your case. You may be able to receive help from our qualified worker’s compensation experts to help you get the compensation you deserve to recover.

    16. June 2013 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Nursing Home Abuse | Leave a comment

    Police Open Investigation Into Refusal of CPR for Elderly California Woman

    Nursing Home

    Ok.  Many of you saw or heard this on the news.  Would you have let the old lady die if you were a nurse? Is there even any question about this? Well, the police must think so. The Bakersfield police have launched an investigation into the refusal by a nurse in a independent living facility to give CPR to a resident.

    The woman identified as 87 year old Lorraine Bayless, who collapsed in the dining room of the retirement home and later died at an area hospital. According to Bakersfield Police Department spokeswoman Michaela Beard, a police dispatcher first got the call from the facility last week and immediately routed the call to the fire department emergency services.

    The second dispatcher pleaded with the caller, who identified herself as a nurse to do CPR, who refused. The dispatcher then added or find someone who would, a passerby, gardener or anyone, even another resident. The Dispatcher can be heard pleading in the released 911 call, and telling the nurse the woman would die without CPR.

    Beard said that she could not make further comment, since this incident is being looked into and is an ongoing investigation. Officials said Monday that the dispatcher followed protocols in pleading with the nurse to perform CPR on the woman.

    Glenwood Gardens defended the nurse stating that she had followed policy in not providing CPR for the 87 year old woman. The call that occurred on February 26th began with the nurse requesting paramedics come to the facility to help the woman. The 911 phone call lasted for 7 minutes and 16 seconds, with 911 dispatcher Tracy Halvorson pleading for the worker who identified herself as a nurse to start CPR.

    Halvorson said at one point, I understand if you cannot do it because of your boss, but as a human. Then Halvorson began asking about anyone that could help, she told the nurse to give the phone to a stranger on the street and said I bet they would help. The nurse said not at this time.

    The dispatcher told her without help the 87 year old, who’s breathing was shallow and was unconscious that she would die without CPR being started. Halvorson told her that if anything went wrong during CPR that the local emergency system would take liability for the call.

    Kern County Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Miller said Halvorson followed procedure, until she ran out of options, with the caller refusing to perform CPR or allow anyone else to do it. Miller said it isn’t uncommon for someone to refuse to do CPR, when they are physically unable to or are too upset to function. He said this call was unique in the way the conversation was and was very frustrating to anyone listening that no one was helping this woman in need of CPR.

    When emergency ambulance personnel arrived on the scene, seven minutes after the call came in, the 87 year old had no pulse and was not breathing. They found her lying on the floor, and started CPR, Bakersfield Fire Department spokesman Anthony Galagaza said. The woman was transported to Mercy Southwest Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

    Glenwood Gardens executive director Jeffrey Toomer said that the nurse followed policy and in the event of health emergencies at the independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance. Toomer said this is what the nurse did and continued to follow policy by staying with the individual until emergency personnel arrive.

    Toomer said that residents of the facility are informed of the policy and agree to it when they move in, but this policy does not apply at the assisted living and skilled nursing facility. According to the Bakersfield Police Department, Bayless did not have a do not resuscitate order in place.

    Assembly woman Mariko Yamada, chair of the California Assembly of Aging and Long-term Care Committee, said that this is a tragedy and a wake-up call. She said it is terrible it took this kind of event to bring this to our attention.  Would you have let the woman die? As a nurse, can you say yes? Is this ethical medicine?

    19. March 2013 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Clinical Ethics Medicine | Leave a comment

    Over 50% Of Nursing Homes Abuse Elders?!

    Nursig Abuse Requires the Best Senior Protection - Ehline Law Firm PC

    Nursing ethics and tort lawyers

    By Attorney Michael Ehline – Ethical nursing is a duty of all professional nurses and doctors. But a recent study shows that tough laws are not enough to keep old folks safe.

    Elder abuse is defined here. The only thing it takes for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing. When seniors are abused, an attorney is the last line of defense. Prevention is reporting of that abuse is the key. The National Center for the Protection of Older People at the University College Dublin carried out research that determined more than one in four employees stated they had seen psychological. The psychological abuse has consisted of swearing, insulting and shouting at residents.

    One In Eight Employees Has Observed Abuse Like Swearing Pushing and Shouting!

    Research shows that one in eight employees have observed physical abuse of nursing home residents. Most frequently this was in the form of grabbing, pushing, shoving, pinching or unnecessarily restraining the patient.

    Stealing

    Approximately 1.2 percent of staff members have other employees taking valuables from a resident. In this study, there were more than 1300 nurses and healthcare assistants in 64 nursing homes that were surveyed in the country.

    According to the report by Dr. Jonathan Drennan of UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, said that the study shows Ireland compares with similar studies conducted internationally, in reporting a lower level of elder abuse.

    Restraining

    False imprisonment is defined here. When a nurse unlawfully restrains someone, this is called false imprisonment and is also a civil battery. In RTE’s News at One, he said that there need to be initiatives that will reduce the practices that lead to abuse. Dr. Drennan said the research shows that staff has observed a range of abuses taking place in nursing homes. He said of physical abuse, the most prevalent was restraining residents longer than necessary at the time and the use of restraints.

    Dr. Drennan said only in an extremely small number of cases the staff reported they saw a staff member slap or hit a nursing home resident. But who cares? Restraining, shouting, and pinching is horrible. The moral of the story is, look after your elders people. Don’t make your first meeting with an attorney the one where he is being hired as your nursing home abuse lawyer.

    Other Sources:

    http://m.rte.ie/news/2012/1206/elder-abuse-study-ucd.html

    http://blog.heritage.org/2012/08/28/morning-bell-how-obamacare-robs-medicare-and-hurts-seniors/

    photo of
    Michael Ehline 

    Ehline Law Firm PC

    633 W 5th St #2890

    Los Angeles
    ,CA 90071

    United States

    213.596.9642
    Elderly Abuse, Nursing Care Abuse, Nursing Ethics

    This hCard created with the hCard creator.

    10. December 2012 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Nursing Home Abuse | Leave a comment

    Nurses Unethically Make Their Jobs Easier?

    By Jonathen Rosenfeld – The federal government has undertaken an initiative to reduce the amount of anti-psychotic medication administered in nursing facilities by about 40%. It is commonly believed among federal regulators that the medications are being hastily prescribed to patients who are in no medical need of them in order to quiet angry outbursts and other irregular behavior.

    Even among patients who are diagnosed with dementia, regulators believe that there is an excessive use of anti-psychotic drugs and would like to see alternative measures taken in order to address agitation and aggression among patients. This initiative will also have the effect of lowering the amount of incidents in which medication is used to cover up cases of negligence.

    Improper Prescribing of Anti-psychotic Medications across the Country

    Over one fifth of the patients in nursing facilities in the United States who have been prescribed anti-psychotic medications do not have a medical condition which requires them. Many family members and physicians actually believe that the prescriptions are for the good of the patient in many cases, but research is showing that the side effects and the risks inherent to these forms of medications are not worth the potential benefit.

    The Food and Drug Administration has needed to issue two warnings in the last seven years alone against the use of anti-psychotic medication in elderly patients with dementia because the side effects often have the potential to kill those taking the medicine. Despite these warnings, many nursing facilities continue to administer the drugs— often in doses that are considered to be extremely dangerous.

    Using Alternative Methods to Treat Patients with Dementia

    One of the root causes of many cases of nursing home negligence is a lack of education or proper training of the staff members. Federal regulators wish to see training programs in place which will educate caregivers on alternative treatment options for patients with dementia so that medicating them is no longer the first option that comes to mind. Because of the possible lethality of the anti-psychotic medications, prescribing such medicines should be considered the last resort when treating patients with dementia or similar illnesses.

    The Potential for Unnecessary Medication as a Form of Nursing Home Abuse

    Understaffed facilities that lack an adequate number of staff members may prescribe anti-psychotic medications as a means of quieting the outbursts and aggressive behaviors of patients who are agitated. This is a sign that the facility is not giving patients proper treatment and is using medication as a way to compensate for the inability to attend to the individual needs of the patient. Federal regulators have responded with an immediate initiative to reduce the total use of anti-psychotic medications by 15% this year alone with the ultimate goal of a 40% reduction. Because many facilities will lose the ability to use anti-psychotic medications as often; many cases of nursing home abuse may surface as the under-staffing problem that many facilities have becomes harder to conceal.

    The regulation of the use of potentially harmful medications is a large stride in the right direction and will reduce the number of instances of negligence that are caused by improperly medicating the elderly. This is one of many steps that we must take in order to ensure the proper treatment of those who we love and care about and if the doctors or nurses in the facility we have entrusted with the care of our loved ones wish to administer anti-psychotic medications, we must always ask the question why. Questioning the motives of a nursing facility is the first step in ensuring that our loved ones receive the best care and that we are able to find out quickly if they are receiving anything but.

    Other Sources:

    http://main.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=60834 <<< Overmedicating

    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/alarming-claims-against-doctorand-his-colorado-family-clinic <<<<< Overmedicating to hide negligence

    http://www.nursingethicsnetwork.org/

     

    11. November 2012 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Clinical Ethics Medicine | Leave a comment

    Investigating Abusive Nurses a High Priority for AG

    Cameron Park resident Don Esco, who died last month at 82, spent his last years suffering the loss of his wife Johnnie, since her death at a Placerville nursing home.  Esco who settled a civil lawsuit with the El Dorado Care Center in Placerville, said that was not enough. He blamed the nursing home for his 77 year old wife’s death in March 2008.

    He said was never about the money and was convinced it was a criminal matter and the state of California agreed, when they filed charges against two nurses. Thursday was four years, seven months and twenty-four days since Johnnie Esco died, when one of the two nurses charged with felony elder abuse by the state pleaded no contest to the charges in the death. Rebecca LeAn Smith, 39 in the plea agreement also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the criminal case against her former nursing supervisor, Donna Darlene Palmer.

    Don Esco died prior to witnessing Thursday’s plea agreement in El Dorado Superior Court. His persistence to hold the nursing home and nursing staff accountable has made a difference in California.  As this case moves forward in the prosecution of Palmer, in turn County prosecution of nursing home staff continues. Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ representatives said the state will begin aggressively prosecuting criminal cases throughout the state.

    Three Specalized Teams Being Assembled

    Three specialized teams are being put together by Harris’s office, with one in Sacramento and two in Southern California, which will pursue criminal charges against nursing home administrators and employees were systemic problems are suspected.

    Harris said in a prepared statement elder abuses a predominantly tragic crime, since it targets older adults, our parents, aunts, uncles and others at a vulnerable time in their lives. She said these crimes are “serious and often hidden.” Harris said we know elder abuse is becoming more prevalent, and we must become more resolute in our protection of older adults.

    Elder Abuse Prosecution

    In the state of California and other states, criminal prosecution of nursing home staff or their employers has been rare. Generally allegations of elder abuse or neglect, are handled in civil court. The actions of Harris, could create changes to reverse the number of criminal actions the state files involving elder abuse. Over the past decade there has been a steady decline in the state’s criminal actions involving elder abuse cases. California general attorney’s office complaints filed has dropped from 112 in the fiscal year 2002-2003, to only 60 during the fiscal year 2001-2000, according to state figures.

    The plan that Harris is putting into place, each of the three teams will have an attorney, an auditor, a nurse and support from a medical professional specializes in geriatrics. According to Mark Zahner, chief prosecution for the AG’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, the teams will develop criminal cases of “systemic abuse” in nursing homes or long-term care facilities where the patient’s daily activities are overseen.

    Zahner said his teams are not looking for isolated incidences, were a low-level employee makes an error on the job. He said people are human beings and mistakes can occur. He said we are after the real bad guys, the ones that are more concerned about how much they have, “boats, yachts and mansions,” rather than providing proper care for the people in their facilities.

    We are after the people who put profit ahead of the care they are providing, Zahner said. There is skepticism about what the attorney general’s office will really do, especially in regard to prosecuting corporate owners. Sacramento attorney Lesley Ann Clement, who represented the Esco family in their suit against Horizon West, was shocked that the state did not charge the chain owners.

    Clement, who specializes in nursing home cases, said the question is why did this happen? She said the answer is there is not enough staff and that occurs at the corporate level. AG spokesman Lynda Gledhill said the corporate owners were not charged, since investigators determined the owners of Horizon West management were “were very cooperative and took action as soon as the situation came to light.”

    Criminal cases will not be easy Zahner and other state officials admit. They said prosecution of elder abuse cases are labor-intensive and expensive, with extensive medical records, which must be examined and expert testimony assembled. There are the defendants that come represented by a team of legal experts, provided with the funding of the corporation. Then the key witnesses are often too feeble to testify or have already passed away.

    Then there are the fundamental legal questions, can the state prove the case? Can they prove beyond a reasonable doubt the administrator or worker had intentions of harming the patient? Which of the many caregivers should be singled out and held responsible to be prosecuted?

    Prescott Cole, senior staff attorney for the San Francisco based California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform said, in a nursing home situation there are three different shifts, with staff members taking over care at different times. Who did what, is going to be one of the problems for prosecutors.
    Cold said that the local district attorney can file criminal charges in nursing home cases, in the state of California, most of them do not. Then it falls mostly on the attorney general’s office, which is often the underdog in court, against corporations within the nursing home industry with deep pockets.

    Death Sentences

    California Association of Health Facilities attorney Mark Reagan, said how well support for the attorney general’s initiative is take, depends on how they “handle prosecutorial discretion.” State prosecutors must determine which cases should be handled in civil court, criminal court or administratively, Reagan said.
    Reagan said the organization believes there is absolutely no place for abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities.

    If a nursing home owner is convicted, Reagan said, of criminal elder abuse, even in the event it is an isolated incident, it is a death sentence. The facility is required to be excluded from receiving Medicaid and Medicare funding.

    Palmer and Smith in the Esco case, according to the attorney general provided substandard care to Johnnie Esco and both failed to adequately supervise the staff. This contributed to the deterioration of the patient and death. The nurses helped to oversee Esco’s care for 13 days at the El Dorado Care Center in Placerville. This was a skilled nursing facility owned at the time by Horizon West Healthcare Inc., of Rocklin.
    Horizon West Health Care Inc. sold its 27 nursing homes last year, which included the El Dorado Care Center, to a San Marcos based chain, who since have changed the nursing facility’s name.

    Smith said that she was raised to take responsibility and negotiated a plea agreement to take responsibility for her actions. Smith, who is now living in Louisiana, said she believes the care provided for Esco could have been better and for that she is deeply sorry. Thursday, when leaving court Smith said that her heart aches and tearfully said “I wish there would have been done at the time.”

    Attorney Patrick K. Hanley, who is representing Palmer, said he was surprised by Smith’s plea, and said there is no evidence supporting the charges that have been filed against the nurses. He said the attorney general’s office was showboating in court and only filed charges, after the storey came out in the media.
    The Bee chronicled the Esco story in a series, to expose falsified records in nursing homes. After the series ran, the attorney general’s office then reopened its criminal investigation.

    The Esco family filed a lawsuit in civil court, which alleged the medical chart for Johnnie showed evidence of being altered, was sloppy and failed in accurately relaying her medical condition. Johnnie Esco’s husband Don, who recently died, enlisted in the Army Air Corps at the age of 15 and will be buried this month next to his wife of almost 61 years, at Arlington National Cemetery.

    Don Esco testified in August, since the prosecutors were concerned about his failing health, to preserve his statements for the record. Don Esco died on October 8th in Sacramento. (Read more.) Prior to his death, last year he told The Bee, his purpose in life was to stop the pain and suffering in nursing homes and ensure the guilty parties are punished.

    Citations:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/03/4959807/california-attorney-generals-office.html

    http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/02/4956042/nurse-enters-plea-in-elder-abuse.html

    06. November 2012 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Nursing Clinical Ethics | Leave a comment

    Menigitis Outbreak Resources Safety Information

    The recent outbreak of fungal meningitis still has many unanswered questions but there are certain things you can do right now to protect yourself if you have had a steroid injection recently as the governmental entities resposible to protect its citizens have  provided answers to some questions. The two biggest question should be:

    1. Am I at Risk for Contracting Meningitis

    2. If So,  What Should I do About It

    The best source for information apart from you doctor who administered the steroid injection is the Center for Disease Control. (CDC) They have a home page dedicated to information regarding the outbreak. The home page has multiple links that serve to answer many questions.

    They tell you that they are working with the FDA and state and local health departments to investigate the disease. The first thing they want you to know is that it is not contagious. So widespread panic has been well contained

    What is the Current Situation

    1. The investigation includes injection in the spinal area as well as injections in the knee shoulder ankle.

    2. The CDC’s fungal disease laboratory has confirmed the presence of the fungus Exserohilum in 10 people with meningitis and the fungus Aspergillus in one person with meningitis.

    3. Clinicians should continue to contact patients who have received medicines associated with three lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml) from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) that were recalled on September 26, 2012. The potentially contaminated injections were given starting May 21, 2012

    So if your injection before May 21, 2012 there should not be a big concern. But epidural steroid injections are not without other risks so if you feel ill after any injection get to a doctor or emergency room.

    4. The CDC actually gives it’s definition of a probable case of fungal meningitis arising from the NECC product;

    Probable Case:

    A person who received an injection with methylprednisolone acetate produced by the New England Compounding Center who developed any of the following:

    Meningitis1 of unknown etiology following epidural injection after May 21, 2012.

    Stroke following epidural injection after May 21, 20122, who has not received a diagnostic lumbar puncture.

    Spinal osteomyelitis or epidural abscess of unknown etiology at the site of injection following epidural or sacroiliac injection after May 21, 2012.

    Osteomyelitis or worsening inflammatory arthritis of a peripheral joint (e.g., knee) of unknown etiology diagnosed following joint injection after May 21, 2012.

    The guidance still in effect is to contact the doctor who performed the proceudre to see if you received the potentially contaminated medicine. if for some reason you are not trusting of your doctor then contact your local health depatment. (my guidance)

    If you have received a potentially contaminated medication, seek medical attention if you have symptoms. Infected patients have had very mild symptoms that are only slightly worse than usual. For example, many infected patients have had slight weakness, slightly worsened back pain, or even a mild headache. Patients with infections have typically developed symptoms within 1-4 weeks after their injection. However, shorter and longer time frames between injection and onset of symptoms have been reported. The time frame is still being investigated. Patients should watch vigilantly for symptoms if they were injected with potentially contaminated steroids and see a doctor if they have any of the symptoms.

    Where Can I Go For Legal Help

    There are many lawyers interested in helping victims of this outbreak. Some do not require that you contracted meningitis, but only that you received the tainted injection and had to go through a spinal tap to determine if you had contracted meningitis. One of the few web sites I have seen by an attorney solely related to the issues involved in the fungal meningitis outbreak is www.meningitis.attorneys.us published by Attorney Anthony Castelli an Ohio personal injury trial lawyer.

    It has frequently asked questions about the outbreak, the government advisories, and a meningitis blog. interstingly enough Anthony Castelli’s office is less than a mile from one of the  four facilities in Ohio that have been identified as administering the tainted steriod.

    Resource: CDC web site  http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html

    Related Posts:  http://blog.castellilaw.com/cincinnati-pain-management-named-as-facility-that-used-tainted-steriods.html

    http://blog.castellilaw.com/fungal-meningitis-outbreak-update.html

     

     

    15. October 2012 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Related Topics | Leave a comment

    Caring For Dementia

    How To Care For Someone With Dementia

    If a person is suffering from dementia they are losing their mental skills that will have an effect on their everyday life. It may be time to seek Memory Care. Dementia is a gradually deteriorating condition that be brought about by strokes and if a person suffers from Parkinson?s disease. Also, Alzheimer?s disease is a type of dementia.

    Dementia is different in each case, but it leads to memory problems, the ability to think clearly, and problems with daily planning. Depending on the stage of dementia people can function for some time while suffering from it, but since it gradually gets worse they need to be taken care of the more they suffer from it. Here are some tips on how to care for a person that suffers from dementia.

    Medication

    Since memory loss and forgetfulness is a symptom of dementia, it is important that if a person is on medication for dementia that they continue to take it as prescribed.

    26. March 2012 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Nursing Ethics Research | Leave a comment

    Healthy Living

    Importance Of Choosing A Positive, Healthy Atmosphere For Your Loved One 

    Very few people want to think about where our loved ones will live when they are no longer able to care for themselves at home, but it’s an important thing to plan for. Ideally, it would be a discussion between adult children and their parents when everyone is in good health, so that the seniors are able to have a significant amount of input as to their living arrangements. However, if that time period has already passed, it is still possible to make the best decisions for all of the involved parties.

    Your loved ones deserve to live in a place that is not only able to meet their health care needs, but allows them to grow spiritually and enjoy a variety of activities that are appropriate for them. This means that when you are looking at the different options, unless someone needs the full services of a nursing home, that it is a good idea to look at all of the different options that are available. That can include everything from a senior apartment complex to assisted living and even home health aides in assisted living. Many nursing homes are quality centers, but if your loved one doesn’t need full care yet, there is no reason for them to live there.

    A important thing to remember is that when someone is bored or not stimulated intellectually, they are likely to decline more quickly. An ideal place for your loved ones to stay will incorporate as many aspects of their lives as possible. Therefore, you should expect to see different types of classes and activities, including day trips at the facilities you are considering. You should also closely look at the people at the facilities you are looking at and determine their feelings about where they stay. You may even be given the opportunity to talk with the residents at some of the facilities.

    A positive, healthy atmosphere for your loved one is the best way for them one to flourish in their new home. You will also see that when they are comfortable in their new home, and are near people in a similar age group with similar abilities, that they are going to be happier. Being home alone, with only the television to look forward to and occasional visits from family and friends for company can become very depressing, very quickly. Being in a place where most of the people have similar abilities and where there are a number of activities to choose from can be an amazing experience that makes life fun again.

    Choosing the most appropriate senior living situation for your loved ones will probably take some time. There are many different factors to consider, including cost, location, reputation of the facility, training of the staff and overall happiness of the residents currently at the facility. It’s an important decision that will have a significant impact on the quality of life that your loved ones experience for many years to come.

    26. March 2012 by nursingethicsnetwork
    Categories: Clinical Ethics Medicine | Leave a comment

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