Johns Hopkins Nurses Complain of Working Conditions—Could Patients Be Impacted?

Medical Malpractice Attorney

A recent article in The Baltimore Sun newspaper highlights nurse complaints about working conditions at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The grievances from nurses imply that the often acclaimed hospital, which was rated first in Maryland and number three in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-2019 best hospitals rankings, may be putting profits before patient care. A nurse quoted in the newspaper article said that “current working conditions prevent us from providing the best care possible.” Complaints from other nurses echo this sentiment. The criticisms of the hospital come as attempts are being made by some nursing staff to unionize. In a survey of the hospital’s nurses, some common complaints among respondents included the following: There are not enough skilled nurses to properly attend to patients, which leaves patients vulnerable and nurses burned out. The hospital lacks a system for ensuring that nurses receive adequate breaks. There are frequent supply shortages and/or poor-quality supplies provided to nurses. One example the article mentioned was that the gloves nurses wear tear easily, which is especially a problem when dealing with patients with infectious diseases. Additionally, the majority of nurses who responded to the survey said they sometimes feel at risk of[…..]

Baltimore Hospitals Ranked in New Survey

Baltimore Hospitals Ranked in New Survey

The rankings are in from the biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades survey. The survey gave letter grades to 2,600 hospitals nationwide, looking at the numbers of errors, infections, injuries and accidents that occurred in these healthcare facilities in the previous six months. Leapfrog Group, which performs the survey, is a non-profit healthcare watchdog organization. Where did Maryland’s hospitals rank overall in safety? As a whole, the state’s hospitals performed poorly, coming in at 38th in the country. While this ranking shows there’s lots of room for improvement, Maryland hospitals did move up nine places since the spring survey this past April. In that one, they were ranked 47th.  So things are at least moving in the right direction. In this most recent survey, 20 percent, or eight, of Maryland’s hospitals were awarded A’s. None of the state’s hospitals got F’s.  Out of the eight hospitals awarded A’s, five are in the Baltimore area. They are: Anne Arundel Medical Center (Annapolis) Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (Baltimore) Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore) Joseph Medical Center (Towson) Greater Baltimore Medical Center (Baltimore). Four Baltimore-area hospitals earned B grades, and 10 received C’s. Bon Secour and St. Agnes Hospital were given D’s on their[…..]

When Rehabilitation Goes Wrong: Rehab Hospital Injuries

Maryland Rehab Facility Injury Attorney

Injury rehabilitation facilities are intended to be a place of healing and recovery. People that go to rehab are typically struggling with the consequences of a severe injury or recovering from a procedure, so the fact that so many people who seek help in rehab actually end up suffering more harm is alarming. A recent study examined over 400 Medicare beneficiaries released from rehabilitation hospitals and found that nearly one-third suffered an adverse or temporary harm event during their stay. Nearly one-quarter of the adverse or temporary harm events resulted in a patient’s being transferred to an acute-care facility. These adverse events were also almost entirely preventable. What is an Adverse Event? An adverse event is a term used to describe some form of harm suffered by patients. Adverse events can include: Infections – Healthcare-acquired infections include bloodstream infections, pneumonia, gastrointestinal illness, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. Through proper preventative measures, these infections could be reduced by up to 70 percent. Bedsores – Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, occur when a patient is unable to move and has prolonged exposure to a surface, such as a bed or medical equipment. Bedsores can damage tissue and lead to other[…..]

Eight Days a Week


Eight days a week is an impossible length of time in our calendar system. A 28-hour work day could be considered just as impossible. How would you like to work 28 hours at a stretch with no sleep? A 28-hour continuous shift has been proposed as the new normal for medical residents. At the moment, these doctors-in-training have their shift hours capped at a maximum of 16. That’s a long day, but it’s not unbearable if you are young and strong. However, would you like to have your serious injury or illness treated by a doctor who’d been awake and making life-and-death decisions for over one full day? If you are like most patients, you wouldn’t like it one bit. Surveys Say: Bad, Bad, Bad In a 2016 poll by Public Citizen, 86 percent of those who responded were opposed to getting rid of the current 16-hour cap by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which has proposed raising it to 28 hours. Additionally, more than 75 percent of patients want the hospital to inform them if the resident treating them has been working over 16 hours with no sleep. The reduction to 16 hours was implemented in[…..]

Psychological Issues Arising from Cerebral Palsy

Maryland Child Injury Attorney

Cerebral palsy, or CP, arises from some type of brain injury or malformation that can occur either while in the womb, during birth, or after birth. CP actually describes a group of disorders that impair movement control, known as “palsies.” CP is a not-uncommon childhood chronic disability that develops by the age of two or three. The difficulties of dealing with a permanently disabled child can be almost unsurmountable for any parent. But problems with CP don’t stop with the physical aspects; CP can also affect mood and behavior. Frustrations and Challenges Kids are kids. They want to play, enjoy fun times with friends, and fit in with their peers. But the daily challenges and frustrations of living with CP can upset children and make day-to-day living hard for everyone in the family. Some of the reasons are internal to the CP child, and some involve the greater society in which they live: Children with CP can have brain damage that affects the pathways and neural networks carrying emotional messages. These networks can be damaged or disrupted in ways that interfere with a healthy regulation of emotions. Physical problems can mean a manifestation of emotional issues. Think about it—if you[…..]

Opioids at Crisis Level in Maryland

Maryland Opiod Injury Attorney

Our state is number one, but in a disturbing way: Maryland’s hospitalization rate due to opioids is the highest in the U.S. New federal data demonstrates the depth and breadth of Maryland’s opioid problem. Ten years of statistics from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality show that tens of thousands of people in Maryland are either admitted to a hospital or visit the emergency room because of opioid overdoses, withdrawal symptoms, or related complications. For 2014, the year with the most recently available federal numbers, there were 362 hospital admissions for every 100,000 residents in Maryland. This number is stunningly higher—over eight times higher—than Iowa’s rate of 44, and far above the national average of 225 for every 100,000 residents. Federal data also established that Maryland’s emergency room visit rate was 288 per 100,000 residents. The national average was around 178. The opioid epidemic began in the early 2000s, with overdoses and deaths really hitting the charts around 2006 and 2007. At first, the problem was concentrated in white, middle-class and upper-class suburbs, but that is not the case now. Federal researchers were shocked to discover that the Baltimore area has an extremely heavy concentration of opioid-related emergency[…..]

Contaminated Surgical Device Endangers Heart Patients

Maryland Surgery Error Lawyer

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Following a diagnosis, surgery is the best option for many patients. Surgical procedures can be used to bypass blocked arteries, regulate heart rhythm, replace valves, or even remove and replace a diseased heart entirely. All of these procedures require a special device to regulate body temperature during surgery. Officials recently discovered that the most widely-used of these devices – the LivaNova 3T Heater-Cooler System – may itself be a deadly health hazard, capable of spreading infection to patients on the operating table. NTM Infections and the 3T Heater-Cooler Nontuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM) are microscopic organisms found in soil and water. These bacteria occur naturally in the environment, and they pose no risk to people who are otherwise healthy. But, for surgical patients with vulnerable immune systems, NTM infections can lead to serious illness or death. Health officials believe that some 3T Heater-Coolers sold prior to 2015 were contaminated with NTM (the M. chimaera strain, specifically) during the manufacturing process. The bacteria are present inside the machines’ water circulation system and may come into contact with patients during surgery in the following manner: 1) The bacteria are located inside[…..]

Spotlighting Hospital-Acquired Infections and Patient Safety

Doctor and Patient

National Patient Safety Awareness Week, which runs from March 13 through 19 in 2016, focuses on reducing harm to patients who use the health care system. The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), which sponsors the awareness-raising effort, has announced their campaign United for Patient Safety, which is meant to focus on the prevention of hospital-acquired infections and medical complications. A recent report from the NPSF made eight recommendations for the ways that a “culture of safety” might be established in a health care system or health care entity. The president and chief executive officer of NPSF, Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, noted that, “We have seen some improvement in patient safety, but 1 in 10 patients still experiences a hospital-acquired complication.” Avoidable Medical Errors That’s right—as many as ten percent suffer from some form of harm while attempting to recover in our health care system. Preventable medical errors cause from 44,000 to 98,000 deaths in hospitals annually. Most of these unnecessary deaths are due to hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), which, according to the CDC, contributed to 75,000 deaths in 2011. The total number of all HAIs during 2011 was estimated at 722,000. However, progress is being made, partially through various[…..]

No-Fault Birth Injury Fund: Yea or Nay?

Cute Baby Looking Up

For the second time in two years, a state legislature task force has recommended that the Maryland legislature create a no-fault birth injury fund. The most recent endorsement occurred in December, 2015. Unlike the previous year, this time the task force included both insurance and legal representatives. The proposed fund, which would be similar to those in Virginia and Florida, would provide medical care for babies who suffer neurological injuries at birth. For a number of reasons, the birth injury fund is the subject of some controversy. Financing for the Fund at Issue The Virginia and Florida funds are financed by hospitals and insurance companies, based on a system that sets rates. However, the most recent Maryland version does not specify how it would obtain financing, which caused one medical-professional liability insurer, Medical Mutual, to refrain from voting on the funding part of the report. The insurer did, however, favor the general concept. The Maryland bill introduced previously would have established a fund paid for by hospitals to the tune of $25 million. But some estimates indicate that only about seven infants would qualify for a piece of the fund each year. Because in Maryland we could have as many[…..]

Medical Misdiagnoses Put You at Risk

Doctor Talking With Patient

In September, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a landmark report that characterized incorrect medical diagnosis as a huge blind spot in our health care system. No one truly knows how many people have their medical care compromised by wrong or delayed diagnoses, but it’s clear that countless people are harmed every year. The report estimates that each of us will have at least one incorrect or delayed diagnosis in our lives, and that even one misdiagnosis could have serious repercussions. Dr. John Ball, the chairman of the Committee on Diagnostic Error in Medicine, which wrote the report, noted, “This problem is significant and serious [yet] we don’t know for sure how often it occurs, how serious it is, or how much it costs.” Finding the correct diagnosis is critical, because it is the first step in determining appropriate treatment. Without a doubt, it appears that our medical system sorely needs improvement in this area. Some of the key points in the report mentioned above show that: Each year, about one in 20 adults in outpatient care experience a delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Hospital research conducted postmortem implies that diagnostic errors contribute[…..]