The Institute of Health Concludes that Almost 98,000 Patients Die Annually in the United States Due to Medical Errors that are Preventable

In the article titled “To Err is Human” published in 1999, the Institute of Health discovered, after an exhaustive scientific research, that up to 98,000 patients die annually in the United States due to medical errors that are preventable. Said research discredited the belief that the so called “medical malpractice” did not occur frequently enough.

The research was actualized in 2012 by an ambitious investigation carried out by students from the New York University Law School and presented in the article titled “A Dose of Reality for Medical Malpractice Reform”. It was concluded that acts of medical malpractice caused the death of more people annually than AIDS, car accidents and breast cancer.

Another important conclusion reached by the study in 2012, is that hospitals have learned that being honest with the patient when a medical error occurs is more important and productive, when compared with the hospitals that hide or deny any error. In fact, those hospitals that recognized its medical error have significantly reduced the medical malpractice lawsuits against them.

Health Care Department Admits to Human Error in the Propagation of Acinetobacter Baumanni in Carolina’s Hospital

At a press conference celebrated yesterday, Dr. Johnny Rullán, ex Secretary of the Department of Health and the person appointed to investigate the acinetobacter baumanni outbreak in the Hospital of the Carolina area, accepted that said outbreak is due to an “involuntary human error”, by merging patients that were infected with those that were not infected in the hospital. He also admitted to the hospital’s poor infection control and deficient cleaning services. Among the measures that have been taken against the outbreak, he mentioned the acquisition of “hand sanitizers”, to be used in different areas of the hospital, and of “glo-gem”, which is a light that detects infected areas.

In spite of what was indicated yesterday, there are still reports of infection with this bacterium in the hospital. Some of the patients in the hospital are still infected with the bacteria and up until to 2 weeks ago, new infections were still being reported. This is far from the publicity campaign of “everything is ok now” that is being sold to the country.

We urge the pertinent authorities to disclose the truth about the outbreak once and for all, and that they adequately assigned the responsibility.

Victims of families of the Acinetobacter Baumanni Outbreak Turn to SolerLaw

More than 10 families of possible victims of the acinetobacter baumanni outbreak have trust SolerLaw to conduct the pertinent investigation, with the purpose of knowing if the deaths of the victims were caused by such dangerous bacteria, which is multiresistant to antibiotics.

The accounts of several of SolerLaw’s clients are similar: they were never informed the name of the bacteria that had infected them; patient’s transfer to another hospital were denied; autopsies were not carried out to the victims, even though, in some cases, the families requested one; and all the patients were in the emergency room and the intensive care unit of the hospital.

Meanwhile, the investigation of the bacteria outbreak continues in a public hearing phase at Puerto Rico’s Senate and the House of Representatives.

By a written opinion from the Honorable Judge Torruella, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, SolerLaw obtained an important victory in a case that was dismissed by the Honorable Judge Fusté, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. It is important to mention that said case was previously dismissed for other reasons, by the Honorable Judge Jaime Pieras (QEPD). The name of the case is Hazel Cruz v. Hospital Menonita. You can access the written opinion at http://media.ca1.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/getopn.pl?OPINION=11-2297P.01A.

The opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston is of transcendental importance for victims of medical malpractice, for it reiterates that it is the hospital’s obligation to put into effect and execute their medical protocols in those cases where the patient is in active labor or has an emergency medical condition. The federal jurisprudence has been consistent in establishing that under the federal statute EMTALA (“Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act”), hospitals must uniformly apply its protocols to those patients with the same condition. If not, the hospital would be providing a disparate treatment.

In this case, Hazel, a woman on her third trimester of pregnancy, arrived to the emergency room of the Menonita Hospital because she had a vaginal bleeding. Even though, Dr. Brenda Torres examine her and confirmed the vaginal bleeding, she did not put into effect the hospital’s “bleeding of pregnant women in their third trimester” medical protocol. Hazel’s obstetrician, Dr. Edward Gómez, was called, but he evaluated her the next day in his office instead of that night. It was too late, Hazel, who was in labor, had dilated too much and had to give birth to her premature baby, whose lungs where not completely developed, causing her death days later.

Obamacare will Force Health Care Plans to Sell Medical Policies to Patients with Pre-existing Conditions

The federal statute implemented by the Obamacare pursues that everyone interested in buying a health care plan can obtain it, provided they pay the pertinent premium, which will vary between the costs of $60-$100.00. One of the achievements of this statute is that it compels health care insurance companies to sell said health plans, even in cases where patients have preexisting medical conditions. Before this federal statute, health care plans had the prerogative of selling or not selling its premiums, and it typically denied the issue of premiums to patients that arrived with preexisting medical conditions.

Puerto Rico will receive $925 million dollars of subsidies from the Federal Government.

American Association for JusticeAmerican Bar AssociationFederal Bar AssociationIndustrial Association of Puerto Rico

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