Personal Injury Compensation

Archive for August, 2013

Inspections Reveal High Possibility of Infections due to Poor Hygiene in Hospitals

August 30th, 2013. By Compensation News.

Five inspections conducted during the summer by the Health Information Quality Authority have revealed the high possibility of infections due to poor hygiene in hospitals in Ireland.

Reports from the five inspections have just been published, and among a catalogue of issues which could result in infections due to poor hygiene in hospitals, the failure to clean hands properly was identified as a major risk to health.

In one hospital – Waterford Regional Hospital – inspectors observed medical and nursing staff taking advantage of five of just twenty-three opportunities to wash their hands – eleven before treating patients and twelve after – although some of the blame could be attributed to the number of soap dispensers that were empty or that had their nozzles blocked by congealed soap.

Other issues identified at Waterford Regional Hospital which contributed towards the high possibility of infections due to poor hygiene in hospitals included:-

  • A patient with a suspected communicable infection being left in a general bay
  • Mould left untreated in patients´ shower units and around toilet areas
  • “Heavy sticky residue” found on the exterior of a patient’s wardrobe
  • A used tracheotomy tube stored above a tray containing disinfectant
  • Staff being observed failing to clean a commode after use

Commenting on the risk of infections due to poor hygiene at Waterford Regional Hospital, Clinical Director Rob Landers admitted that the hospital was “extremely disappointed” with the inspectors´ findings and said that future hygiene breaches would become a disciplinary matter. Mr Landers reassured patients that it was safe to attend Waterford Regional Hospital despite the finding in HIQA´s report.

The four other healthcare centres at which inspectors found a high possibility of infections due to poor hygiene in hospitals were:-

  • Louth County Hospital, where inspectors discovered that the doors of two isolation rooms containing patients with known transmissible infections were left open as standard practice
  • St Michael´s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, where inspectors discovered unhygienic temperature probes and found that mould had been allowed to develop in the hospital´s toilets and showering facilities for patients.
  • Portiuncila Hospital in Galway, which had issues with the general cleanliness of the physical environment and medical equipment, and a poor standard of waste management.
  • Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan, where the Accident and Emergency Department was found to be generally unclean – with the walls of the patients´ toilets particularly being described as “heavily stained”.

Injury Compensation Claims for Missed Diagnoses top GP Malpractice Cases

August 23rd, 2013. By Compensation News.

A review prepared for the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin has found that injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses are the leading reason for GP malpractice cases.

The review – “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” published recently in the British Medical Journal – was compiled with the objective of establishing which areas of primary care in Ireland should be given specific attention when developing future educational strategies and risk management systems for front-line healthcare practitioners.

It found that the most common reason for GP malpractice cases were the missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer – specifically lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer – medication errors (in both administration and prescription) and, in children´s injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses, the failure to correctly diagnose meningitis and appendicitis.

The lead researcher for the report – Dr Emma Wallace – is herself a GP, and she acknowledged that reviewing GP malpractice cases may not be the preferred methodology to establish where the most attention was required; however, she did accept that injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses were creating an environment where GPs and front-line healthcare practitioners were acting more defensively.

The review found that more patients are being referred to consultants than before – potentially delaying a correct diagnosis and placing pressure on an under-resourced Irish health service – because of the risk of litigation should a mistake be made. Medical practitioners against whom injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses are made often experience increased stress levels, Dr Wallace said, reducing their effectiveness to diagnose correctly and placing more patients at risk.

It is hoped that “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” provides an insight into the nature of adverse events in hospital outpatients´ departments and GPs surgeries, and the reasons for them occurring. This would then reduce the number of injury compensation claims for missed diagnoses in Ireland and ultimately improve the standard of primary healthcare provided.

Airplane Crash Survivors offered Compensation for Psychological Injury

August 15th, 2013. By Compensation News.

Airplane crash survivors from the Asiana Flight 214 that crashed last month on its approach to San Francisco International Airport have been offered compensation for a psychological injury by the airline company responsible.

Three passengers died in the aftermath of the crash on July 6th, when it is believed that a Boeing 777 carrying passengers from Seoul in South Korea misjudged the height of a perimeter seawall and burst into flames on the runway.

181 of the 291 passengers that were on board the flight were admitted to hospital, where 49 remain in serious condition while the US National Transportation Safety Board continue with their investigation into how the accident occurred.

The offer of compensation for a psychological injury is being made to all the survivors of the accident – whether they sustained a physical injury or not – and is being made under US law which means that victims will not lose their right to claim further compensation once the investigation is completed.

How much compensation for an airplane crash passengers ultimately receive will depend on their nationality, whether they boarded the plane in a country which has ratified the Montreal Convention and whether their journey was one-way or a round trip – as well as the nature of their injuries.

Although the offer of compensation for a psychological injury is being made now by Asiana Airlines, it is unlikely to be the limit of their liability, as Post Traumatic Stress Disorders can manifest years after a trigger event.

Family to Claim Compensation for Death of Daughter in Hospital

August 9th, 2013. By Compensation News.

The family of Amy Hauserman, who drowned while taking an unsupervised bath in the psychiatric unit of Frankston Hospital, have confirmed that they intend to claim compensation for the death of their daughter in hospital following the release of the Coroner´s report.

Amy´s fatal accident occurred in 2008 – just two days after she had voluntarily been admitted into Frankston Hospital due to doctors fearing she was relapsing into the schizophrenic condition which had caused her to suffer from anorexia in her youth.

The Coroner´s report into Amy´s death criticised nursing staff at the hospital for allowing to take a bath without supervision and for not conducting a risk evaluation or consulting her doctors beforehand.

Coroner Peter White concluded that Amy´s death was due to her either slipping and falling as she tried to leave the bath or lapsing into unconsciousness while taking it. He said that the presence of a nurse would have prevented Amy´s death.

The inquest also heard conflicting evidence from the Head of Nursing – who said that protocols existed for psychiatric patients to be observed at all times if no risk assessment had been undertaken – and a nurse who worked on the ward, who said she was unaware of such protocols and she did not think at the time that Amy needed supervision.

After the inquest, Coroner White said that it was an “appropriate response to this tragic episode” that the hospital no longer allowed patients in its high dependency psychiatric ward to take unsupervised baths, but Amy Hauserman´s father confirmed that the family would claim compensation for the death of their daughter in hospital against the Mornington Peninsula Health Service.

A Health Service spokesperson said that he was not prepared to comment on the case, but said in a prepared statement “Peninsula Health is deeply saddened by the death of Ms Amy Hauserman. We have expressed condolence to the Hauserman family on a number of occasions since Amy’s death.”

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