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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on November 6th, 2013

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Small v. Parker Healthcare Management Organization
A physician filed a breach of contract suit against two chiropractors he partnered with to form a healthcare association. The trial court found the contract at issue was unenforceable because the healthcare association violated the Texas Medical Practice Act’s restrictions on partnerships with non-physicians. On appeal, the physician argued he was the sole owner. The appellate court held that testimony and language in the articles of association established that the three healthcare providers intended to jointly own the enterprise.

Snodgrass v. Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center
The family of a heart bypass patient filed suit against her hospital alleging that her ICU bed was negligently allowed to lower, resulting in the displacement of her endotracheal tube and subsequent asphyxiation. The trial court granted the hospital’s no-evidence motion for summary judgment. The appellate court affirmed, finding that affidavits from nurses were insufficient to overcome summary judgment because nurses cannot establish proximate cause. A letter from a physician was also held inadequate to defeat summary judgment because it contained no opinion on proximate cause.

Douglas v. Kingwood Medical Center
The plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim erroneously named a limited partnership unrelated to the incident at issue in her petition, but later amended it to name the correct party. The defendant medical center moved for summary judgment on the basis it was not served until after the statute of limitations expired. The plaintiff argued that the petition had been served on the correct defendant’s chief operating officer and the medical center thus had fair notice of the claim. The appellate court affirmed, finding that the plaintiff had served an unrelated entity and did not name the correct entity until the statute of limitations expired.


First Study of ‘Moral Distress’ Among Burn Unit Nurses Held
Researchers from Loyola University Medical Center have conducted the first study of ‘moral distress’ among nurses at burn units. The study focused on stress associated with ethical conflicts, such as being required to carry out orders that seem unnecessary or observing healthcare workers provide false hope to patients and their families.

Data Suggests Devices Not Behind Hospital Charge Variations
New data suggests that medical devices are not responsible for the wide variation of Medicare hospital charges for similar admissions. Charges for device intensive procedures fluctuated by 59% among hospitals, while charges for non-device intensive procedures varied by almost 80%.

Sepsis Rates, Costs Higher in Teaching Hospitals
Teaching hospitals provide care for children with sepsis at a higher cost and with higher mortality rates than non-teaching hospitals, new data suggests. Pediatric patients at teaching hospitals had a mortality rate of 4.6% compared to 1.6% at non-teaching hospitals and experienced an almost double average length of stay.

Study Measures Impact of Education on Hand Hygiene Compliance
A program conducted at Rhode Island Hospital between 2008 and 2012 to assess the impact of education and information on hand hygiene compliance found compliance rates improved from 60% to 89%. The initiative engaged all levels of hospital staff, administration, and healthcare providers in an effort to produce a culture of safety and reduce hospital-associated infections

Men’s Reluctance to Visit Doctor Could be Killing Them
More than a quarter of men report not visiting a doctor or other health care professional over the past 12 months, and two-thirds of men report they would not visit a doctor even if they were experiencing chest pain. Researchers from The Men’s Health Network estimate that more than half of premature deaths among men could be preventable through regular checkups to identify problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Electronic ICU Care Comparable to Conventional ICU
The number of complications observed among patients monitored using electronic ICUs and patients in conventional ICUs was similar, according to a study comparing the incidence of code blues, falls, overall mortality, and length of stays.

Victims of Tainted Steroids Still Struggling
A year after a fungal meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated steroids, many victims are still undergoing treatment and some who believed they were cured have relapsed. More than 700 people contracted meningitis traced to the New England Compounding Center and 64 have died.

US Given ‘C’ for Preterm Births
Although the United States’ preterm birth rate has decreased for six consecutive years, at 11.5% it remains above the March of Dimes’ goal of reducing premature births to 9.6% by 2020. The March of Dimes rated the nation’s premature birth rate at a ‘C’, noting that the rate is among the highest in an industrialized nation.

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