MedStar Washington Medical Center Releases Patient Safety Survey Results

By Peter DePaolis

Some hospitals are going the extra mile in an effort to get it right, it seems. While many medical facilities around the country do whatever it takes to hide their dirty laundry, MedStar Washington Hospital Center is stepping up and actually fixing problems.

The hospital asked employees to rate levels of patient safety in the facility. About 45 percent of them gave a less than positive response.

More than half indicated apprehension over the safety of handing off patients between units and whether they would be retaliated against for reporting safety concerns.

Almost 80 percent, however, said they were impressed with the teamwork in their units, and noted that the hospital was working to improve patient safety.

MedStar is one of only two hospitals in the U.S. to release internal information to the outside world. Very few hospitals even admit that they do this kind of review. Even fewer share the outcomes.

The hospital has now addressed many problems. Bed rails with alarms were installed, which are triggered if the railing is adjusted incorrectly. Patient falls have subsequently been reduced to 1.8 per 1,000 patient days.

MedStar has also implemented stricter rules regarding central lines, the catheters inserted into major veins to administer medications. Central lines have long been recognized as a potential source of infection, since catheters can introduce bacteria into the bloodstream.

The hospital had central line infection rates of 3 per 1,000 patient days just a few years ago, but has since lowered that number to fewer than 1 per 1,000 patient days.

Below, Paulette Chapman talks a little bit about medical malpractice.

I Think I Experienced Medical Malpractice and I Need an Injury Attorney

These are encouraging developments. When hospitals have lax standards, are understaffed or overwork their employees, mistakes are far more likely to happen. In a hospital, those mistakes lead to medical malpractice, which can have devastating effects on patients and their families.

If you have suffered from medical malpractice, it is urgent that you contact a Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia injury attorney at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P. to assist you in pursuing your claim. Call our office right away.

Did You Know? Only one in eight preventable medical errors committed in hospitals results in a malpractice claim.

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About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.