examining the top ten medical technology hazards of 2015 ii

This week, we’ve been exploring the Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2015 as found by the Pennsylvania-based ECRI Institute. It’s worth noting that at least four of the dangers identified in the report are actually holdovers from 2014, including one we’ll explore in today’s post.

4. Inadequate reprocessing of endoscopes/surgical instruments

It’s almost impossible to open the newspaper these days without reading about some sort of highly contagious disease, including the flu, mumps, MRSA and even Ebola.

Given this reality and the fact that hospitals are often the first place people go for treatment for any type of highly contagious condition, the ECRI Institute indicates that it’s absolutely imperative for the proper cleaning and disinfection/sterilization procedures in place.

Failure to do so or continued reliance on improper reprocessing procedures, claims the report, can have serious or even fatal consequences for patients who come into contact with contaminated equipment.

5. Ventilator disconnections and mis-set/missed alarms

One of the most essential pieces of equipment in a hospital room, a ventilator is outfitted with sophisticated sensors and alarms designed to warn hospital staff of everything from a partial separation of a breathing circuit to another circuit, or a complete separation resulting in the escape of gases from the circuit.

The ECRI Institute points out that alarm settings on this equipment must be set to an audible and otherwise distinguishable level, while staff must be trained to react as soon as possible given the gravity associated with such alarms.

6. Patient-handling device use errors/device failures

One of the more fascinating elements of this hazard highlighted by the ECRI Institute is its discussion of how hospitals can be inherently dangerous places for staff in terms of work injuries relating to the lifting, transfer or movement of patients. Indeed, a 2011 survey of work injuries among 1,000 U.S. hospitals found that patient-handling injuries accounted for 25 percent of all work comp claims.

According to the ECRI Institute, this high rate of work injuries concerning patient transfers highlights a general lack of proper training, something that not only has consequences for employees ,but possibly patients as well. For instance, what if a patient in an otherwise delicate condition is dropped or rolled during transfer?

We’ll finish exploring this topic in our next post …

If you or a loved one were victimized by what you firmly believe was hospital negligence, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible so that an investigation can be conducted and, if necessary, legal action taken.

Source: Health Data Management, “ECRI’s Top 10 Technology Hazards for 2015,” Accessed Dec. 15, 2014

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