The Ongoing Problem of Hospital Negligence in Florida Part 1
Updated July 2021: Hospital Negligence an Ongoing Problem in Florida and Beyond
What is Hospital Negligence?
Hospitals can be liable for negligent acts through some of the same concepts that apply to doctors in a medical malpractice case. Legally, the organization is required to meet the generally accepted standard of care that applies to all facilities. A hospital’s failure to deliver care in accordance with this standard may constitute hospital negligence if another facility would have provided proper treatment under the same circumstances.
Examples of Hospital Negligence
In a 2015 blog post, we discussed a case where parents of a 7-month-old infant were left grieving the loss of their child after a tragic error was made when the infant accidentally received an adult dosage of medication as a result of poor communication between nurses at the hospital where the child was a patient. The baby went into cardiac arrest moments after the terrible mistake was made by the nurse. Sadly, the resuscitation efforts of medical staff failed to revive the infant. Hospital officials admitted that certain portions of safety protocol involving medication were not followed and that they are making changes to reduce the potential for similar human errors in the future.
If a Florida patient were to experience similar circumstances, he or she would be able to file a legal claim for medical malpractice in a civil court on behalf of his or her child of minor age. And indeed, the Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. have successfully proven Hospital Negligence in similar cases. Several years back, Attorneys Philip Freidin and Joel Brown won a $2 million verdict for the parents of a 12-year-old child who died as a result of emergency room negligence. The hospital staff mistakenly believed the child’s ER symptoms were drug induced. We proved they should have suspected, diagnosed and treated a brain hemorrhage, which would have saved her life.
When you consider negligence in the medical profession, you probably think of the individual Florida practitioners who fail to provide treatment in accordance with the required standard of care. However, some medical malpractice concepts also encompass large scale negligence in the organizational environment, such as in hospitals and entire health care systems. These facilities also have a duty to provide quality patient care, but Florida’s Hospital Safety Grade as established by the Leapfrog Group indicates there is still work to be done.
In this first installation of a multi-part series on hospital negligence in Florida, we cover the criteria used to grade facilities and demonstrate how these factors apply to organizations across the state. This information can guide you in making decisions about where to seek care in light of the ongoing problem of hospital negligence.
How are Florida Hospitals Rated?
Initially, you should note that the overall picture of quality in hospitals and related facilities is positive. The Leapfrog Group assessed 179 health care organizations, including both private and public centers AND multi-location health care systems. More than half – 124 hospitals – scored an A or B in the grading system, which reviews the facility’s performance related to:
- Preventative care against the following Infections: MRSA, C. diff, blood and urinary tract infections, and colon surgical site infections
- Problems with surgery: Dangerous object left in patient’s body; Surgical wounds splitting; Death from treatable complications; Collapsed lungs; Dangerous blood clots; and Accidental cuts and tears
- Error prevention systems: Doctors order medications through a computer, safe medication administration, hand washing, communication about medicines, communication about patient discharge, and hospital staff’s ability to work together to prevent errors
- Safety issues: patient falls, bed sores, and air bubbles in the blood
- Hospital Staffing to ensure: Effective leadership to prevent errors; sufficient staffing of qualified nurses, specialty doctors for ICU care, effective communication from doctors and nurses to patients, and responsiveness of the hospital staff.
In reviewing the grades of some of the larger hospitals in the state, we found some alarming ‘below average’ ratings. A Bradenton, FL hospital with over 350 beds received a C grade due, in part, to the number of deaths caused by treatable complications. When hospital staff fail to communicate quickly and efficiently or fail to identify post-operative complications, their patients can suffer from pneumonia, a heart attack, or lose liver or kidney function. Death from serious complications can also result from below average leadership or a lack of qualified nurses on staff, two areas where this particular medical facility performed below average.
Our Florida Hospital Negligence Attorneys Can Explain Details
This summary of hospital safety grades is helpful when you need medical treatment, but you are in a different position if you suffered harm because of negligence. You do have legal options through a medical malpractice case, and our Florida hospital negligence attorneys at Freidin Brown, P.A. will be at your side to ensure you get the compensation you deserve by law. Please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers today to set up a free consultation. We can provide additional information after reviewing your circumstances.
Hospital Negligence an Ongoing Problem in Florida and Beyond
Florida medical patients, as well as those in other states, have the right to reasonably assume that medical staff members under whose care they have entrusted themselves will act according to the utmost levels of professionalism and safety regulations at all times. When the patient is an infant, parents might be especially concerned with knowing that their child is being well taken care of in the hospital. When hospital negligence occurs, it can result in tragedy, as it did in a case in another state.
Parents of a 7-month-old infant were left grieving the loss of their child after a tragic error was made by a nurse at the hospital where the child was a patient. A hospital spokesman stated that a nurse had prepared a bag of medication for an adult patient. In the meantime, the baby was also in need of medication, and another nurse entered the area where the first nurse had left the adult medication bag. The nurse tending to the baby thought the medication was for the infant; she took it and administered it to the child.
The baby reportedly went into cardiac arrest moments after the terrible mistake was made by the nurse. Sadly, the resuscitation efforts of medical staff failed to revive the infant. Hospital officials admitted that certain portions of safety protocol involving medication were not followed and that they are making changes to reduce the potential for similar human errors in the future.
If a Florida patient were to experience similar circumstances, he or she would be able to file a legal claim for medical malpractice in a civil court on behalf of his or her child of minor age. If a doctor, nurse, practitioner or other medical professional is deemed liable for negligence, a successfully litigated case could result in a compensatory award being issued to the patient. This could then be used to help alleviate any financial burden that might exist in relation to injuries suffered through hospital negligence or expenses incurred by the family of a deceased patient.
Source: boiseweekly.com, “St. Luke’s: Nurse’s Medication Error Resulted in Child Fatality”, Geroge Prentice, Oct. 3, 2015