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Week in Review

by Kroger Burrus on June 25th, 2014

Kroger | Burrus Week in Review


Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital v. Hayden
A hospital visitor filed suit alleging the hospital was responsible for her slip and fall. The hospital moved for dismissal on the basis no expert report was filed, but passed the dismissal hearing after the visitor amended her petition and asserted that her claim was a premises liability claim not subject to Chapter 74. After the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Texas W. Oaks Hosp. v. Williams, the hospital moved to dismiss again. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s finding that the claim constituted a health care liability claim, and that the hospital had waived its right to move for dismissal after passing on the initial dismissal hearing, engaging in extensive trial preparation, and waiting approximately 670 days after the visitor amended her petition to file its second motion to dismiss.

Smith v. Wall
A dental patient who allegedly sustained nerve damage during a wisdom tooth extraction filed suit against his dentist, alleging he failed to obtain informed consent regarding the risk of nerve damage. The trial court granted the dentist’s motion to dismiss, holding that the patient’s expert reports were inadequate. The Austin appellate court reversed, finding that the expert adequately described his opinion that the dentist’s failure to obtain informed consent was a breach of the standard of care that caused the patient’s injury.


Number of Induced Labors Declines
After almost two decades during which the number of induced labors had steadily increased, the number of US infants born early due to induced labor or C-section is on the decline. Between 1990 and 2010, the rate of induced labors had increased from 10% to 24%, but has been dropping slowly in recent years, in part due to recent efforts by medical societies to advocate against unnecessary induced labors.

Study Validates Hospital’s Efforts to Improve Patient Safety
A Connecticut hospital’s efforts to improve patient safety through standardizing practices, training health care providers to improve teamwork, and hiring a patient safety nurse have paid off, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers. Researchers found that in the five years after the initiative was started, the hospital experienced a 50% reduction in liability claims and a 95% decrease in liability payments compared to the five years preceding the initiative.

CHRISTUS Selects First President for Children’s Hospital of San Antonio
Elias J. Neujahr has been chosen to serve as the first president of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System’s new Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, which is currently under construction downtown. Neujahr comes to San Antonio from Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was responsible for medical group and hospital operations at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. His prior experience includes serving as vice president of clinical resources for the Women and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and The Children’s Hospital in Denver.

CHRISTUS Upgrading South Texas Medical Center Hospital Campus
Renovations at the CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital — Medical Center should be completed at the Northwest San Antonio campus later this month. CHRISTUS is increasing surgical facility space at the hospital, increasing the overall capacity in the intensive care unit, and adding 22 intermediate care unit beds.

FBI Launches Criminal Inquiry into VA Scandal
The FBI has opened an investigation into accusations that Department of Veterans Affairs officials falsified reports to cover up delayed care for thousands of veterans, according to testimony provided by FBI Director James B. Comey last week to the House Judiciary Committee.

Hospitals Placing Pharmacists in Emergency Departments to Reduce Errors
In an effort to reduce medication errors, some hospitals are turning to pharmacists who specialize in emergency medicine. Medication errors and dangerous drug interactions contribute to 7,000 deaths across the US annually. Although electronic medical systems can help catch these types of errors, a recent study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that even with an electronic medical record, 25% of children’s prescriptions had errors, as well as 10% of adults’ prescriptions.

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