It sounds like it would be a made-up story, but patients do get forgotten by healthcare professionals! Earlier this week I wrote about a hospice service which forgot about a deceased patient’s body for over 9 hours in the shower! This is a real issue that does occur.
One of the most common places where a healthcare provider will leave a patient or forget about a patient is in the emergency room or emergency department. This can be deadly! These are very busy departments in most hospitals, and when patients come to the emergency room for immediate treatment and are forgotten, it can result in very serious personal injuries.
An example is when a patient goes to the emergency room with the classic signs of a heart attack. The patient is rushed to a room and treatment is started, and then another case comes in which districts healthcare providers. The original patient with the chest pains does not get treatment, and ends up dying.
Another very common example is pressure sores or pressure ulcers. This is a condition caused by the friction and pressure of resting in one place for too long without movement or shifting positions. It can result in horrific injuries and necrotic flesh, including unstoppable infections. These are very commonly deadly, and known as a “never” event meaning that they should “never” occur.
Patients can also be forgotten during medication rounds. For instance, if a patient needs medication every 4 hours and the nurse accidentally skips the patient on the round or forgets to even perform the round, this can result in serious personal injuries and damage. This is also medical malpractice.
Some people ask how there can be medical malpractice when the healthcare provider did not do anything. There was no intentional act which caused the harm. But under New York law, which is generally the national standard, negligence can be an act or omission. That is, an affirmative act or an absence of an act. There is no intentional requirement in negligent and medical malpractice; the act or omission is one that the actor either unintentionally did (an accident) or knew or should have known that the act would cause an injury.
Thus, someone who forgets to do something can be just as negligent as someone who does something improperly.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.