An alarming statistic was released today (Jan. 15, 2017) - that about two percent of all doctors are involved in half of all medical malpractice settlements, according to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) that has studied this issue for the past 25 years.
On June 1st, 2016, Keith A. Hebeisen and Bradley M. Cosgrove, partners at Clifford Law Offices, obtained a $7.75 million verdict in Cook County Circuit Court against a doctor whose patient died of cardiac complications hours after spinal surgery. Susan A. Capra, nurse and partner at the firm, worked up the case for the two-week trial before Judge Donald Suriano.
Keith A. Hebeisen and Sarah F. King, attorneys at Clifford Law Offices late Friday (Dec. 11, 2015) obtained a record $950,000 verdict in Ford County in a medical malpractice case.
It is being reported that Coumadin, the popular prescription blood thinning drug, is a particular problem in nursing homes and requires careful calibration in that too much can cause uncontrolled bleeding and too little threatens the development of life-threatening clots. A story in the Washington Post reported that at least 165 nursing homes residents were hospitalized or died following errors from ingesting Coumadin or its generic version, warfarin, from 2011 to 2014. The reporter, Charles Ornstein, derived his information from ProPublica that analyzes consumer and government data. "Studies suggest there are thousands more injuries every year that are never investigated by the government," Ornstein wrote. He also quoted Ron Baird, president of Geriatric Practice Management, a firm that creates electronic health records for physicians working in long-term care facilities, who said that "'Coumadin is the most dangerous drug in America.'" Ornstein reported, though, that a national initiative helped reduce the use of such drugs by about 20 percent. Still, a 2007 study in the American Journal of Medicine estimated that nursing home residents suffer 34,000 fatal, life-threatening or serious events related to the drug every year, according to the Washington Post story. The drug has been around since the 1940s, and even President Dwight D. Eisenhower was prescribed the medication after suffering a heart attack. The drug has been reported to interact poorly with certain foods and other medications, particularly antibiotics, and requires regular blood tests to ensure that it is working properly. Ornstein reported that 2.4 million seniors and disabled people filled at least one prescription for warfarin, the generic of Coumadin in 2013 under Medicare's prescription program and some 280,000 people were prescribed the brand-name version, Coumadin and Jantoven. He also reported that about 1 in 6 of the nation's 1.3 million nursing home residents are prescribed an anticoagulant, according to federal data from this year, with the majority believed to be on Coumadin or its generic. It should be noted that in a study published last year by Quest Diagnostics, a lab company, that the drug Coumadin or its generic had the desired effect on patients only 54 percent of the time. The story also reported of a 2011 report in the New England Journal of Medicine that the drug accounted for some 33,000 emergency hospitalizations among the elderly from 2007 to 2009, more than twice as many as the next highest drug, insulin for diabetes. To read more about this important development, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/popular-blood-thinner-causing-deaths-injuries-in-nursing-homes/2015/07/12/be34f580-1469-11e5-89f3-61410da94eb1_story.html
Choosing a surgeon can be a daunting task, and ProPublica, a not-for-profit news organization based in new York that produces investigative journalism in the public interest, researched thousands of doctors and how well they performed surgeries over a four-year period. Focusing on surgeons and not hospitals, ProPublica examined 16,827 doctors across the country focusing on eight surgical procedures performed thousands of times a day, scheduled in advance and generally performed on patients in stable health. Patients who were brought in through the emergency room or from facilities like nursing homes were excluded. Guided by top researchers and doctors, ProPublica used Medicare data from 2009-2013 to identify cases where a patient died in the hospital or had to be readmitted within 30 days for a problem related to one of these elective procedures. The organization then calculated complication rates for surgeons, trying to account for differences in patient health, age and hospital quality. ProPublica reports that these rates were calculated using data from Medicare records, which do not include patients with private insurance or in another program like Medicaid. A surgeon's rate spans all hospitals at which he or she operates and is not unique to a given hospital The analysis is based on billing data hospitals submitted to Medicare from 2009-2013. ProPublica analyzed 2.3 million procedures: hip and knee replacements, three types of spinal fusion, gallbladder removals, prostate removals and prostate resections. To examine the database that ProPublica put together, go to: https://projects.propublica.org/surgeons/ The database is interesting in that it is divided by city, surgeon and particular surgeries. Take a look. It's obvious that selecting a surgeon is important. To learn more about how to do that, read this patient safety report published by ProPublica: https://www.propublica.org/article/surgery-risks-patient-safety-surgeon-matters?utm_campaign=sprout&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=1436848877
Consumer Reports 2015 rankings is considered a place to start when looking at hospital safety. Recently, the publication released its rankings of what it considers to be the safest hospitals in the state. Consumer Reports uses data from various state and federal sources to rate patient safety at Illinois' 176 hospitals; however, for some, insufficient data existed. The safety scores are on a 100-point scale for key measures regarding patient safety such as hospital-acquired infections, unnecessary re-admissions, mortality, communication about new medication and discharge instructions. It also views patient outcomes, patient experiences and hospital practices. Click here to learn the process of Consumer Reports' findings: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/10/how-we-rate-hospitals/index.htm Reboot Illinois put out the following results from the Consumer Reports findings: Top 10 safest hospitals according to Consumer Reports T-1. OSF Saint James - John W. Albrecht Medical Center | Pontiac Safety score - 72 2. St. Alexius Medical Center | Hoffman Estates Safety score - 69 T-3. Advocate Condell Medical Center | Libertyville Safety score - 65 T-3. Alexian Brothers Medical Center | Elk Grove Village Safety score - 65 T-3. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital | Downers Grove Safety score - 65 T-4. St. Joseph's Hospital | Breese Safety score - 64 T-4. Central DuPage Hospital | Winfield Safety score - 64 5. Rush-Copley Medical Center | Aurora Safety score - 63 T-6. Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital | Barrington Safety score - 62 T-6. Mendota Community Hospital | Mendota Safety score - 62 T-6. Adventist Hinsdale Hospital | Hinsdale Safety score - 62 7. Presence Saint Joseph Hospital | Elgin Safety score - 61 T-8. Edward Hospital | Naperville Safety score - 60 T-8. Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital | La Grange Safety score - 60 T-8. Palos Community Hospital | Palos Heights Safety score - 60 T-8. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital | Park Ridge Safety score - 60 T-8. Riverside Medical Center | Kankakee Safety score - 60 T-9. Elmhurst Memorial Hospital | Elmhurst Safety score - 59 T-9. Blessing Hospital | Quincy Safety score - 59 T-9. UnityPoint Health - Trinity Rock Island | Rock Island Safety score - 59 T-9. Presence Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center | Chicago Safety score - 59 T-10. NorthShore University Health System | Evanston Safety score - 58 T-10. Centegra Hospital - McHenry | McHenry Safety score - 58 Top 10 LEAST safe hospitals according to Consumer Reports: 1. South Shore Hospital | Chicago Safety score - 24 2. Provident Hospital of Cook County | Chicago Safety score - 31 3. John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County | Chicago Safety score - 34 T-4. Franciscan St. James Hospital and Health Centers | Olympia Fields Safety score - 36 T-4. Norwegian American Hospital | Chicago Safety score - 36 T-5. Richland Memorial Hospital | Olney Safety score - 39 T-5. St. Elizabeth's Hospital | Belleville Safety score - 39 T-6. St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center | Chicago Safety score - 40 T-6. Presence St. Mary's Hospital | Kankakee Safety score - 40 T-6. Paris Community Hospital | Paris Safety score - 40 T-7. Harrisburg Medical Center | Harrisburg Safety score - 41 T-7. Fairfield Memorial Hospital | Fairfield Safety score - 41 T-7. St. Mary's Hospital | Decatur Safety score - 41 T-8. St. Francis Hospital | Litchfield Safety score - 42 T-8. Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers | Evergreen Park Safety score - 42 T-8. Loyola University Medical Center | Maywood Safety score - 42 T-9. Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital | Lake Forest Safety score - 43 T-9. OSF Saint Francis Medical Center | Peoria Safety score - 43 T-9. Herrin Hospital | Herrin Safety score - 43 T-10. West Suburban Medical Center | Oak Park Safety score - 44 T-10. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital | Melrose Park Safety score - 44 T-10. Vista Medical Center East | Waukegan Safety score - 44 T-10. Good Samaritan Regional Health Center | Mt. Vernon Safety score - 44 T-10. Galesburg Cottage Hospital | Galesburg Safety score - 44 T-10. Heartland Regional Medical Center | Marion Safety score - 44 T-10. Pekin Hospital | Pekin Safety score - 44 T-10. Ingalls Memorial Hospital | Harvey Safety score - 44 T-10. Advocate BroMenn Medical Center | Normal Safety score - 44 From Consumer Reports: http://www.rebootillinois.com/2015/06/22/editors-picks/kevin-hoffmanrebootillinois-com/consumer-reports-the-top-10-safest-and-least-safe-hospitals-in-illinois-for-2015/39908/?utm_source=dailytip_20150623&utm_medium=email&utm_content=&utm_campaign=
Slate.com reports that researchers have found a trend that there is a spike in hospital deaths over the summer when new doctors have just started practicing. Is it real and can it be attributed to this cause? Certainly, America has been witness to many mistakes in hospitals over holidays and weekends when less experienced, less tenured staff and medical personnel are on duty. At Clifford Law Offices, we have seen even the most experienced doctor or nurse have a bad day or make a mistake regardless of the number of years he or she has been practicing. According to medical lore, though, freshly graduated medical students generally start in early July. About right now. Watch this short video that explores the research of this phenomenon. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/06/july_effect_research_what_studies_say_about_spiking_hospital_deaths_video.html
Shannon M. McNulty, a personal injury lawyer at Clifford Law Offices was profiled in an editorial piece published by Leading Lawyers Magazine in the Women's Edition for 2015. In the article McNulty talks about her background in criminal justice, her successes and how she currently heads the consumer class action work as one of the partners at Clifford's Chicago-based law firm. The Leading Lawyers Magazine profile is a detailed feature that also touches on the following points - McNulty's devotion to her community, home life as a mother and wife and testaments from her peers. Read the entire piece titled "Shannon McNulty: Shifting from Criminal Justice Legacy to Consumer Class Actions" here.