Of the following conditions, which do you think is the leading cause of death in the entire United States? Diabetes – Influenza/Pneumonia – Alzheimer’s Disease – Nephritis – Septicemia – Heart Disease – Preventable Medical Errors
Well if you said heart disease then you win the prize. It is the number one cause of death on this list for the Entire United States with over 650,000 deaths per year. But, if you look at this list again closely, I bet you didn’t figure that preventable medical errors would be the number two leading cause of death in the USA? The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) seminal study of preventable medical errors estimated as many as 98,000 people die every year from preventable medical errors. If the Centers for Disease Control were to include preventable medical errors as a category, these conclusions would make it the sixth leading cause of death in America causing more deaths than every ailment in the lead paragraph other than heart disease.
Hopefully at this point I have shocked your conscious awake by revealing a few of my brethren who, like me, have a disdain for life at times. I will continue to show you how vulnerable you are to the RN caregivers who provide the majority of your care but first I must take a step back to show you how easy it is to slip through the cracks and avoid persecution. Many have avoided persecution because the system does not want to persecute. Of the many I have discovered because they were caught, I have to believe that there are tenfold that amount who have learned to work the system of cover up to their advantage.
Many of these 98,000 deaths are just plain mistakes. Costly mistakes but mistakes none the less. But, at what point does a mistake become incompetence and at what point does incompetence become negligence, and at what point do we label that negligence malicious. Case in point. Many times I would go to work and follow a certain nurse and find meds not given, or in this particular instance, a medication given that should not be given because the vital signs were too low. The patient subsequently coded and died. It was easy enough for me to investigate and see that the medication was pulled. The vital signs prior to the incident were stable and then one hour later a celestial discharge. Why did nobody else catch this? Well, maybe because the patient was pre-disposed to his manor of death – a heart condition. It was easy to accept it. Yet, other nurses knew of this nurses incompetence and it was never reported. On some level no facility wants to be known for being the facility that gave a movie stars babies an overdose of heparin. Incidents are to be handled in house as much as possible with incident reports so that problems can be fixed in house. Could that lead to under reporting of incidents to the public in general? The following excerpt was taken from a NY Daily News article written By Robert Gearty , Benjamin Lesser AND Greg B. Smith
Alfred Scott showed up at Bellevue Hospital Sept. 8, 2005, diagnosed as having suffered a “cardiac event.” A fourth-year med student placed an IV in his left arm.
Problem No. 1: Students are not allowed to administer IVs.
Over the next two days the medical student and several nurses made apparently fictional entries in medical records.
The student claimed Scott’s arm was fine. One nurse wrote that the arm’s skin was “warm to touch.” Another says there were “no signs of inflammation.”
Problem No. 2: Scott’s arm was covered from knuckles to elbow with a material called Kerlix which made examination impossible. When the Kerlix was removed after two days, staffers found Scott’s arm was “blistering,” his left hand “cool to touch and pulseless.”
Investigators concluded “the student likely did not examine the left arm” and that the signs of problems “must have been present during the time that nursing staff documented intact skin and circulation.”
Surgeons determined the IV made Scott’s arm “not salvageable.” Three days after surviving a heart attack, Scott had his left arm amputated at the elbow.
Besides the fictional notes, hospital records make another false claim: that a licensed medical doctor administered the IV.
Scott died four months later. His widow, Gwendolyn, sued, saying the amputation contributed to his death. The hospital was fined $14,000, but the family was not told.
In a statement, the city Health & Hospitals Corp. confirmed “protocol prohibits medical students from starting IVs” and blamed the nurse for “mistakenly” thinking the med student was a resident.
Hmmmm, the Nurse got blamed for something a medical student did, there was only a $14,000 fine and the family was not told????? We all just read that. Did we miss something here or does it appear that a hospital was involved in a cover up?
HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare rating organization, found that Medicare patients who experienced a patient-safety incident had a one-in-five chance of dying as a result. 20% is a pretty high chance of death when you are talking CBO numbers that indicate that there were 181,000 severe injuries attributable to medical negligence in one year.
Nurses make mistakes. They may be mistakes of technique, judgment, ignorance or even, sometimes, recklessness, gross negligence, and yes even malicious intent that can go undetected in an overburdened and understaffed system. Whatever the cause, there is enough blame to go around and it is undeniable when workers can sit by idly as in this video and watch someone die, that there is MALIGNANT CAPACITY IN HEALING HANDS.