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Infection rates and medical malpractice in California

California families who have suffered the untimely death of a loved one in a hospital-related incident understand the gravity of the hospital negligence issue. When medical malpractice causes injury, illness or death to someone who has been entrusted to a hospital's care, the consequences are often devastating. Many patients have died in situations that were entirely avoidable due to medical error or failure to adhere to patient safety protocol.

Reportedly, more than 30 hospitals in another state were among those penalized for infection rates and patient complication percentages that are problematic. Many of the injuries and illnesses patients experienced were said to have been preventable. Proposed penalties involve cuts in Medicare payments under the Affordable Care Act. More than half of the hospitals were already penalized for similar issues last year.

Some say that while penalties are a step in the right direction, more needs to be done in order to promote patient safety in the nation's hospitals. A surgeon from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland believes part of the problem lies in the fact that patient complications are often profitable for hospitals. He further stated that this is because many health incentives are improperly aligned.

Medication errors are among the most common in relation to hospital negligence. Other complications include infections from urinary catheters, re-opened wounds, broken hips and sepsis. Those in California whose lives have been turned upside down from a medical tragedy have recourse through the legal system by filing a medical malpractice claim in a civil court. In circumstances where a loved one has succumbed to the complications suffered under hospital care, it is obvious that monetary compensation is no replacement for the loss of human life; however, monies awarded by the court in a successfully litigated claim may help offset the financial costs associated with the incident.

Source: myajc.com, "Georgia hospitals face penalties for high infection rates", Andy Miller, Jordan Rau, Dec. 11, 2015

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