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Hawaii patients could be at risk due to medical negligence

A recent study was conducted in a hospital outside Hawaii that suggested that many of the medical professionals involved failed to follow safety protocol regarding the proper procedures for removing protective garments. As this could cause a potential risk and health hazard to patients, Hawaii residents might wish to take note of the study for the purpose of researching similar protocol in their area hospitals. The American Journal of Infection Control published study results indicating that as few as one out of six medical professionals observed followed appropriate safety precautions when removing protective garments, which might be deemed as negligence in some cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues recommendations for the proper removal of protective garments after a medical professional has been in contact with a patient. The recent study including the observation of medical staff entering and exiting patient rooms as per the specified protocol for various isolation procedures in the hospital. The specifications and observations included the prescribed removal for gowns, gloves and face masks after patient care.

The observations took place in a hospital located in Wisconsin. Results stated that as many as 16 out of 30 medical professionals who were observed exited the patients' rooms and entered the hallways while still wearing their protective garments, even though safety protocol specifically recommends removing the gear while still in the isolation areas of the patients' rooms. Other medical staff members were witnessed removing articles of protective gear in the wrong order from that listed in the prescribed procedures. It has been reported that such errors could result in the transmission of pathogens that could pose a risk to patients, as well as medical personnel, themselves.

In Hawaii and beyond, when medical patients entrust themselves to the care of hospital staff members, they have the right to reasonably assume that those caring for them will take every precaution and follow every recommended procedure to ensure their safety and good health. If the negligence of medical staff results in a patients injury or illness, he or she has the right to file a legal claim in a civil court. Depending upon the circumstances, a patient's injury or illness could be quite serious, necessitating the need for extended medical treatment or care in recovery, the cost of which might be somewhat alleviated by court-awarded compensation in a successfully litigated case.

Source: medicalnewstoday.com, "Healthcare workers are not removing protective garments correctly", July 17, 2015

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