Oct 16 2007

Hospital Safety, Dirty Doctors, and Accountability

My friend Helen Haskell forwarded two articles of big interest to those of us who wish hospitals were safer places to be sick or hurt.

Putting Staff in Charge of Safety

The first is the cover story from Hospitals and Health Network Magazine called “Can Your Nurses Stop a Surgeon?” It tells the tale of a surgeon at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center who, ready to operate on his patient, was told by the nurses and surgical technician that he was not allowed to move forward because he had not yet let them run through their pre-surgical safety check, called a “Time Out.”

The surgeon, furious, reached for the scalpel anyway — and found it had been removed from the instrument tray by the staff. Even more furious he stomped out of the OR and contacted the CEO of the hospital — only to find himself dismissed from service, his privileges removed from all 10 of the Advocate hospitals.

It turns out that the surgical safety check is only one example of how Advocate Illinois has put its systems where it’s mouth is. It will be some time, I’m sure, before they can measure its success, but the idea of making everyone responsible, and giving everyone the “clout” needed to make safety happen can only be a positive thing — regardless of how that particular surgeon feels about it.

The ability for any of the medical staff to ask for a safety check is an excellent form of permission and accountability. It can also provide confidence among staff members to hold doctors responsible, too. We hear stories all the time about the arrogant doctor who puts nurses and other staff in their places. I see this accountability system as a way to make sure staff will have the confidence to put that doctor back in his/her place — to the benefit of the patient.

Discouraging Hospitals from Hiring Dirty Doctors

A second report comes from the American Medical Association. It addresses a recent decision in Minnesota’s Supreme Court that says that when a hospital hires a physician with questionable qualifications, (previous known medical errors, marks against his/her license, lost lawsuits) the hospital can be sued if that doctor hurts a patient.

It turns out that 28 states in the US have a similar law requiring accountability on the parts of hospitals that hire (what I call) dirty doctors. Here are the states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Two states have rejected this type of legislation: Delaware and Kansas

So how can patients use this information?

Patients who live in the Chicago area and face surgery might consider the Advocate hospitals as a good choice for surgery — although — I could find no information about their infection rate records, and of course, that’s a big deal. Hospital infections are among the biggest safety problems. Presumably the behaviors changed in the safety environment at these hospitals would address infections, too. Consider asking your doctor for those infection rates before entering their hospitals — or any hospitals.

Regarding hospital accountability for Dirty Doctors — it’s only a start. Tomorrow I’ll blog about another story from yesterday’s news, and what it means to patients who need information about these Dirty Doctors.

………………
Want more tools and commentary for sharp patients?
Sign up for Every Patient’s Advocate once-a-week or so email tips
Or link here to empower yourself at
EveryPatientsAdvocate.com
………………

1 comment

2 pings

    • maryann on November 27, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Find an update to this comment at this link.

    COLLIER COUNTY POLICE DEPT REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE MULTIPLE COMPLAINS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT , STALKING AND HATE CRIME BECAUSE OF THE PRESTIGE OF THE PERPETRATOR

    As a registered nurse for 20 years none of the local hospitals in my area would hire me because I refused to and continue to refuse to have sexual relationship with. [name removed]. He has been calling prospective employers with lies making it impossible for me and my children to find work in Naples Florida. After moving to New York I was able to find work immediately
    The local collier county police dept continue to protect this sexual predator.
    All anyone has to do is look into his back ground to find he’s a women abuser, chronic liar, sexual predator and stalker. However the letters M.D behind his name serve as a shield for this psychopathic behavior.

    Never dated this man, never socialized with this man, nothing was done to seduce this man.
    This man became obsess with destroying my family.

    When I went to work at the willoughs of Naples as a registered nurse…..I was escaping the stress of critical care nursing …I had no idea I would end up sexually assaulted and stalked…. for approximately four months [name removed] a psychiatrist on staff whispered inappropriate sexual word in my ears .. Constantly went out of his way to touch and feel where ever he could …I was constantly invited to his office…all of this was reported to the administrators …however nothing was done.
    This mad man showered at my house requesting “an all night “.which I ignored …he went on talking about his multiple failed marriages and bad relationships ..After about 1hr of listening to his problems…. he left. Soon after I started receiving explicit sexual phone calls …i.e. “My penis is bigger than the average you know” “I might no look like it but am a black man would you like to see” …..In one phone call I was offered $2,000 per month for sex in return ….the phone calls kept coming ….request for phone sex was a frequent. I have changed my phone number 4-5times a year since 2002 my initial contact with this sex predator …I even changed job several time and asked him to stop calling , but the calls came more frequent both in Spanish and English…my self and my children were constantly followed …and harassed by him or his friends …
    The local police (Tim Smith) said he would have to physically harm me or my family before they could do anything. The EEOC (Latoya Allen) was useless Incompetent and the waste of my time and intelligence.
    He told the medical boards that I was upset the relationship ended . WE NEVER DATED.
    nothing was do to provoke the mad mans behavior. I always dressed appropriately at work and everywhere else. America is full of hate toward black. This is my personal experience!

    I was able to find work immediately in NY. With out this man following me and lying to prospective employers.

    …SOMETHING IS SERIOUS WRONG WITH OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM, WHEN IT FAILS TO PROTECT its CITIZENS… THIS MAKES ME ANGRY….

    I never knew a human being could be a stalking savage animal seeking blood of innocent people that have absolutely no relationship with him or his mental diseases. My children don’t know him I only worked with this beast of a human. Did not find him attractive, interesting or dateable. I am more than sure he is a criminal capable of murder and it’s frightening and unbelievable to know this man is allowed to practice medicine and treat patients.

    THIS MAN CONTINUE TO CONTACT ME BY PHONE OR E-MAIL
    i HAVE MADE MULTIPLE COMPLAINS WITH NO SATIFACTION
    HERE IS ONE OF HIS LATES CONTACT .

    Sent: Friday, November 2, 2007 9:20:36 AM
    Subject: your e-mail address

    Find an update to this comment at this link.

  1. […] Dirty Doctors Can’t Be Identified As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m reporting today on a frustration among those of us who work in patient […]

  2. […] …..find the rest of this post at the new blog location  […]

Comments have been disabled.

%d bloggers like this: