At some point in their lives, most New Jersey residents have probably been in a situation where they have needed to take an antibiotic. Antibiotics can be very effective in treating illnesses caused by harmful bacteria and as a result they are prescribed frequently by doctors and hospitals. In fact, about half of patients who are hospitalized are given an antibiotic during their stay. While this might seem beneficial on the surface because these drugs can help stop infections, the Centers for Disease Control are urging hospitals to cut back on antibiotics because of the many ramifications of overuse of this type of drug.
When a nurse left the room just as an expectant mother said she needed to give birth immediately a couple was forced to oversee the birth of their baby without medical assistance. A hospital spokesperson says that the patient and her husband were left alone for two minutes and that a nurse completed the delivery. However, the father of the newborn told reporters that the nurse left them despite their protests and that by the time hospital staff returned there was nothing left to do but cut the umbilical cord.
A breakdown in the proper sterilization process for surgical instruments resulted in 18 patients being exposed to a fatal brain disease. The error occurred at a hospital treating a patient who was suspected of having a rare disease called Creuzfeld-Jakob disease, which is similar to Mad Cow disease. When patients are suspected of having this condition hospital staff are required to put surgical instruments through a more intense sterilization process that destroys proteins linked to the disease. Instead in this case the instruments went through the normal sterilization process and were subsequently used on 18 other patients.
Many readers are already familiar with the issue of germ control in hospitals. Hospitals are naturally a place with a lot of bacteria, and highly trained disease control specialists are always working on ways to prevent harmful germs from spreading. One way that germs spread in a hospital is on the bodies of the hospital staff, since they travel frequently from room to room. As a result, safety measures like rigorous hand-washing are necessary to keep patients safe.
Mistakes happen in hospitals all the time. Many of them are minor mistakes, like a flipped-over x-ray, that can be easily noticed and remedied. Other mistakes are bigger, leading to serious injuries for patients that could have been prevented with better oversight.
A recent occurrence in the neonatal unit of a hospital should put New Jersey hospitals on alert. When a young mother gave birth to premature twins in May 2013, a Las Vegas hospital allegedly failed to diagnose a contagious lung disease that the woman had, allowing her to continue visiting her babies in the hospital after being discharged. According to state health officials, this led to an outbreak of tuberculosis that has affected dozens of people, some fatally.
When a mistake happens in a hospital setting the consequences can be extremely serious, ranging from a bodily injury to a potential fatality. Among medical professionals this is a worst case scenario, but unfortunately it does still happen from time to time. One major issues surrounding hospital mistakes and doctor errors is the low level of reporting and the lack of communication about mistakes that were made. Some speculate that this is for fear of liability in a civil suit, but studies have suggested that more open reporting standards actually decrease the overall level of errors that result in an injury or death.