In 2008 Medicare implemented a policy requiring hospitals to report the occurrence of what it described as "never events." These never events are bad things that should never happen to a patient while they are in the hospital.
California adopted this law and specified numerous adverse events that posed an urgent or immediate threat to the welfare, health, or safety of patients, personnel, or visitors, these are events that never should happen in the hospital. California law requires these be reported within twenty-four hours of the adverse event and they include surgery performed on the wrong body part, surgery performed on the wrong patient, wrong surgical procedure performed, retention of a surgical instrument during surgery, or death within twenty-four hours after surgery.
Just this month the State of California fined Anaheim Regional Medical Center Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) for performing kidney surgery on the wrong side of a patient.
These adverse events have been determined to be events that are preventable. These adverse events as described by California law constitute medical malpractice in addition to subjecting the hospital to state fines and Medicare penalties.
The reporting law also required the California Department of Public Heath make the information relating to adverse events reported by hospitals readily accessible to consumers effective January 1, 2009 and be posted on the State Department of Health website no later than January 1, 2015.
In the coming weeks I will provide additional information about specific adverse events as reported by particular hospitals.
For more information about the unfair MICRA limits and what you can do about them contact California Medical Malpractice Lawyer Steven Weinberg.