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Georgia hospitals penalized for preventable mistakes

Patients usually go to the hospital to get better, not to become even more sick or receive an additional injury. Unfortunately for an untold number of patients in Georgia and throughout the country, doctor errors can result in a worsened medical condition or a tragedy. In many cases, these mistakes were preventable.

Now Medicare has cut its payments to hospitals across Georgia by 1 percent, in response to reported high levels of mistakes resulting in patient injuries or infections. Out of 721 hospitals being penalized throughout the United States, 29 of them are in Georgia and include some of the state’s biggest and most well-known medical facilities. Also affected by the sanctions are about half of the state’s academic medical centers.

There are numerous types of medical malpractice incidents that commonly result in patient injury or death. These include surgical errors, blood clots, infections from catheters and medical equipment, bedsores and other complications that could have been avoided. A health researcher from Boston said that certain techniques and procedures can reduce the number of hospital errors, but these procedures do not appear to be uniformly implemented in every hospital. These techniques can include better hand-washing practices, computer data entry of patient information instead of handwritten notes, and stringent checklists during surgical procedures.

Until these types of procedures become a standard of care in hospitals across the country, it’s likely that preventable doctor errors will continue to be a serious risk for patients. A personal injury attorney can help to advise people of their rights when they have been harmed by hospital negligence.

Source: The Augusta Chronicle, "Feds reduce to Ga. hospitals' funding over harm to patients," Dec. 23, 2014

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