What Happens When an EMT Makes a Medical Error Or Commits Negligence?

Medical negligence is typically associated with doctors, nurses, and other hospital-based professionals. Often, however, the most devastating acts of negligence occur long before patients reach the emergency room. Like any medical professional deemed responsible for patient suffering, EMTs can be held liable. Unfortunately, patients often struggle to prove negligence, as evidence surrounding EMT activity is often murky, at best. Common Types of EMT Negligence EMT negligence can take many forms. Some errors may prompt immediate damage, while others may impact later treatment efforts among doctors and nurses. Key mistakes include: Delays in arrival prompted by dispatch errors. Failure to check…

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How Power Outages and Natural Disasters Interrupt Hospital Operations

Hospitals are far more vulnerable than they appear. Even a brief power outage can place patients at risk. Below, we highlight a few examples of the perils prompted by natural disasters and accidental outages: The Peril of Natural Disasters Hurricane Katrina serves as a particularly notable example of the havoc natural disasters can wreak on otherwise reliable hospitals. Many survivors recall the terrors that overtook medical professionals and patients alike as floodwaters approached Memorial Medical Center, where the power was quickly knocked out — and where temperatures soon exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Eventually, staff members were forced to evacuate patients…

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A Basic Checklist For Getting the Attention You Need in the Emergency Room

While TV shows make emergency room scenarios seem fast-paced, real-life visits to the ER may involve a surprising amount of waiting. Between wait times and slow treatments, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the average patient spends a full two hours in the emergency room. During that time, many patients feel all but invisible. Doctors may be too rushed and too frenzied to respond appropriately to their concerns. This is no time to give up, however. The following tips will help you gain the attention you so desperately need at this critical time: Don’t Minimize…

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Dealing With Health Anxiety After a Bad Experience With a Doctor Or Nurse

Visiting the doctor may not be a delightful experience, but it should, at minimum, be tolerable. If you’re like many patients, however, you dread annual physicals and other necessary appointments. This fear may stem from negative past experiences, which likely have left you feeling anxious about return trips. Outright avoidance is not a viable solution, however. Visiting the doctor is akin to maintenance on your vehicle; by stopping by regularly, you can avoid greater problems down the road. For the sake of your health, it is critical that you address your medical anxiety as soon as possible. These suggestions should…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 2

Distraction is a big deal in the health care industry. In the first portion of this two-part series, we delved into the many ways in which constant technological distractions can impact doctors, nurses, and other health care workers — and how patients are negatively impacted by this problem. Now, we highlight potential solutions capable of mitigating the constant sense of distraction pervading the health care industry. Switching to Job-Exclusive Devices Mobile devices provide considerable value throughout the medical field. Simply abandoning them is not a realistic option. That being said, many steps can be taken to reduce associated distractions. Sticking…

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Practicing Medicine While Distracted: How Ubiquitous Cell Phone Use Impacts Health Practitioners And Places You at Risk — Part 1

Mobile devices are increasingly prominent in health care settings, where doctors and nurses increasingly use iPads to update patient information or access critical records. But while mobile devices can dramatically improve health care efficiency, they hold several notable drawbacks. Chief among these? Distraction. In this two-part series, we will explore the alarming role distraction and cell phone use play in the modern health care industry — and how this issue can be addressed. Health Care Workers Are Vulnerable to Distraction It’s no secret that distraction impacts our performance in a variety of arenas. On the road, for example, cell phone…

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When Do Doctors Make More Medical Errors?

Medical errors are a serious issue in our country. They are the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, which is why the healthcare industry is trying to reduce these errors. However, a new study may be refocusing that effort as it exposes when doctors are more likely to make a life-threatening mistake. When Are Doctors Most Likely to Make a Medical Error? For many years, the healthcare industry has been trying to reduce medical errors by changing the environment in facilities. These efforts have included the use of checklists, expansions of technology and equalizing hierarchies between…

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How the Graying of the Baby Boom Generation Will Strain Our Health Care Infrastructure

Millennials may be poised to overtake Baby Boomers in terms of population. Even as they age, however, the Boomers’ influence cannot be denied. This is unfortunately most true in terms of health care, with many Boomers beginning to suffer the chronic and acute health conditions that naturally accompany old age. The health care industry is poorly equipped to take on increases in Boomer visits — and the increase in the condition severity underlying such visits. Below, we highlight a few of the ways in which the graying of the Baby Boomer generation is already starting to strain the health care…

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How to Know Whether Your Hospital Is Great, Bad, or Somewhere In Between

United States hospitals vary dramatically in quality. Some maintain an exceptional standard of care, while others exhibit shocking negligence on a daily basis. Don’t assume that your hospital is the former. The following suggestions will help you determine whether you should continue with the status quo or find a new facility: Take Advantage of Hospital Ratings Numerous scales are available to help you determine how your hospital stacks up compared to other options. Each rating scale holds different criteria; examine several to get a well-rounded take on your hospital. Top options include: Leapfrog Medicare’s Hospital Compare Hospital Safety Grade Hospital…

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Doctors And Nurses Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol: Part 2

Substance abuse is a shocking epidemic in the health care industry — and it places both patients and professionals at risk. In the previous blog from this two-part series, we examined the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse among doctors and nurses. Now, we’ll take a closer look at how these substances impact vulnerable patients: Increased Risk of Surgical Errors Perhaps the scariest implications of substance abuse on the job involve surgery. This niche requires exceptional precision; even slight impairment could lead to devastating outcomes. While medical professionals have been known to successfully perform surgery under the influence (with some…

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