Here’s what other personal injury and worker’s compensation lawyers have been talking about the week of March 28, 2014:
- Hospital Errors Remain Too Common Because of Doctor Deficiencies (Protect Patients Blog). As this article points out, hospitals continue to have a high rate of medical errors. The federal government has enacted certain measures to reduce the number of hospital medical errors, but many of them don’t seem to be working. According to Dr. Philip Levitt, a retired neurosurgeon and former chief of staff of two hospitals, “American hospitals have a big problem with unnecessary deaths from medical errors. Estimates of the numbers vary widely, but extrapolating from the best studies, a conservative estimate would be that well over 100,000 people a year die unnecessarily because of errors made by their health-care teams. And the numbers have remained high despite concerted efforts to bring them down. Why? Because we’ve embraced a so-called solution that doesn’t address the problem.”
- Reporting Recipe: Dollars for Docs (Pro Publica). As this article explains, this September, the federal government plans to release details on payments made by drug and medical device makers to all U.S. doctors from August to December 2013, as required by the Affordable Care Act. ProPublica also tracks this information and updated its database to include payments made through the end of 2010, which amounts to about $2.5 billion overall. As the article states, this information is important because patients must be able to trust that their doctors are prescribing the necessary and appropriate medications given their unique medical condition and not be influenced by financial incentives of the drug makers.
- OSHA forms alliance with Concerned Beauty Professionals to reduce chemical hazards in the beauty industry (Workers Compensation Law Blog). As this article explains, OSHA has formed an alliance with the Georgia Concerned Beauty Professionals “to provide hair salon owners and workers with information, guidance and training to protect employees from exposure to products that contain hazardous chemicals, such as formaldehyde.” The article goes on to state that “OSHA requires manufacturers, importers, and distributors of products that contain formaldehyde to include information about formaldehyde and its hazards on product labels and in the material safety data sheets sent to employers. Formaldehyde presents a significant health hazard if workers are exposed. It can irritate the eyes and nose; cause allergic reactions affecting the skin, eyes and lungs; and is linked to nose and lung cancer.”
- Nursing Homes: Where Safety is an Afterthought (The Pop Tort). Almost half of all Americans over the age of 65 will spend some time in a nursing home; unfortunately, not all nursing homes have their patients’ best interests in mind. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services released a new report finding, according to ProPublica’s reporting yesterday, that, “One-in-three patients in skilled nursing facilities suffered a medication error, infection or some other type of harm related to their treatment…” Equally upsetting is the fact that not all health departments are taking appropriate measures to prevent nursing home abuse. According to the article, reports indicate that due to a “backlog of hundreds of health and safety complaints about nursing homes, Los Angeles County public health officials told inspectors to close cases without fully investigating them.”