Loretto announced today that it is closing two Syracuse-area nursing homes over the next two years. The involved homes are Loretto-Oswego and Rosewood Heights. Loretto's press release did not discuss the motives for the closures including whether or not the decision was driven by costs, patient population, medical malpractice, and/or quality of care concerns.
September 2009 Archives
Many years ago, thrombolytic therapy was approved for the acute treatment of a stroke. Despite this therapy, very few patients are receiving treatment in time to prevent stroke sequela. There are several explanations for the failure to diagnose a stroke and the failure to timely treat a stroke.
First, many patients wait too long to go to the hospital after experiencing stroke symptoms. On average, patients alone at symptom onset waited more than three and one-half (3.5) hours to go to the hospital (as compared to roughly 2 hours for those not alone). Awakening from a sleep with symptoms increases delay. Transport to the hospital by emergency medical services decreases delay.
Second, many hospitals wait too long after a patient arrives in the emergency department to obtain a CT scan, the results of which may result in a stroke diagnosis and prompt thrombolytic therapy. On average, hospitals take just over 1 hour to perform the diagnostic study. A hospital may depart from accepted standards of care, an be liable for hospital negligence or medical malpractice, for exceeding time standards set by the a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke advisory committee.
In sum, delay in presenting to the hospital, when joined with hospital delay, can lead to a failure to timely diagnose a stroke and, in turn, a poor outcome such as brain damage.
St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, Syracuse, New York, recently obtained certification as the only accredited chest pain center in Central New York. The certification was issued by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.
As an accredited chest pain center, St. Joseph's Hospital promises immediate treatment for patients who come to the hospital complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. The new protocol for immediate treatment may decrease medical malpractice claims for delays in treatment that lead to heart damage. Early treatment is critical during a heart attack.
According to Richard Caputo, M.D., a Syracuse-area cardiologist, "[t]he average patient arrives in the Emergency Department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don't know is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome."
In addition to its recent accreditation as a chest pain center, St. Joseph's Hospital is the only Syracuse-area hospital that is designated by the American Heart Association as a Missing Lifeline STEMI hospital, for the treatment of heart attacks.
The New York State Department of Health Office of Professional Medical Conduct ("OPMC") has suspended for thirty days the license of a Syracuse doctor specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. According to OPMC, Dr. Richard Caputo, who operated a practice known as The Good Life Centre for Women, "improperly used forceps to deliver babies and exposed patients to unnecessary risks."
According to materials examined by Hearst reporters and graduate students at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, medical professionals are not always truthful on death certificates. Especially so where the true cause of death may trigger a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit, or where the true cause of death may lead to scrutiny from the New York State Department and/or Center for Disease Control.
In most cases, relevant information about a patient's death was left off of the death certificate. An example includes the death of Norine Zazzara, 81, who died at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York. According to her death certificate, she died of pneumonia. However, her medical records revealed that she had contracted MRSA while admitted for leg swelling, which led to pneumonia, ventilator respiration and eventually death. MRSA was omitted from Ms. Zazzara's death certificate.