The health care environment setting is full of changes and is said to be in flux because it is ever-changing. However, it should be these changes require effective management to ensure that accidents and mistakes do not occur in the health care facility, thereby putting the lives of medical staff and the lives of patients in danger by exposing them to more medical risks injury. More often than not, there are cases where mistakes and accidents occur, and they result in poor outcomes such as detrimental health status, injury to the employee or patient or even the death of the parties involved. This has put medical institutions across the world on high alert because they are forced to ensure that patient and employee safety is maintained.
On July 6 2020, officers from the St. Cloud Police Department were dispatched in the early morning hours to investigate an accident that involved two vehicles. The vehicles had crashed at the intersection of 9th Avenue and University Drive (“Mayo Clinic ambulance & vehicle collided in St. Cloud; 1 suffered life threatening injuries,” 2020). According to the police report, one vehicle was on University Drive and was heading east while the ambulance was on 9th Avenue and was heading north. At the time, the other vehicle had four occupants while the Mayo Clinic ambulance has two medical staff. Luckily, the ambulance did not have any patients because it was on its way to answer a call. This can further be proven because the ambulance had activated its flashing red and blue lights and had its siren blaring. The accidents occurred at night, making it very difficult for police officers to accurately identify the accident’s main cause. The police report indicated that all occupants of the other vehicle suffered injuries and were then transported by the Mayo Clinic ambulance to St. Cloud Hospital where they received medical attention. One man from the vehicle sustained life threatening injuries while all the other superficial injuries were not life threatening. Both occupants of the ambulance suffered minor injuries and received medical services at the St. Cloud Hospital (“Mayo Clinic ambulance & vehicle collided in St. Cloud; 1 suffered life threatening injuries,” 2020).
One way in which the outcome of the situation can be improved is by availing all the facts and information about the accident as well as the patients admitted to St. Cloud Hospital. This will in turn ensure that the medical personnel providing care to the patients make the best decisions for their patients. Also, the medical staff tending to the patients should be well experienced in their respective fields so that the chances of survival of the patient who was brought in with life threatening injuries can be increased. The best way of preventing a similar event from occurring in the future is by increasing the visibility of the vehicles being operated by medical facilities as well as ensuring that there is seatbelt compliance by the staff that operates the ambulance. Also, medical staff operating the ambulance should ensure that they operate at speeds that are safe for other users of the road regardless of the day’s emergency and time. The implementation of such policies will ensure that the safety of patients, as well as medical staff, is maintained.
The other instance in which patient and employee safety was neglected was reported in The Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic is being faced with a malpractice lawsuit as well as a lawsuit for neglecting its duties in properly overseeing its medical staff. The survivors have accused two physicians in the family practice department of three patients who died as a result of being overdosed on painkillers. The two doctors were reported to have over-prescribed pain medication for the three patients which later led to the accidental deaths as a result of overdosing on the prescribed pain medication. One of the patients who died had a history of chronic pain due to driving long distances and unloading cargo from his truck and motorcycle accidents in his youth. The patient had also received a knee replacement as well as several surgeries on his shoulder. This therefore created the need for his physician to prescribe three different pain medication which were benzodiazepine, hydrocodone and oxycodone, which are highly addictive (“Two Cleveland clinic doctors accused in lawsuits of contributing to three opioid overdose deaths,” 2018).
In all three instances, the patients had a history of injuries and accidents in their youthful years and this necessitated their need for pain managing medications. However, their physicians went on to over-prescribe the respective painkillers. In all three instances, members of the patient’s families had reported to the patient’s respective doctors about the addictive nature and impacts that the prescribed painkillers were having on their loved ones but the physicians failed to make any notable efforts to help the patients. It should be noted that the opioid addiction exhibited by the three patients was as a direct result of the over-prescription of pain management medication by the two physicians.
The Cleveland Clinic issued a statement claiming that there is a very thin line between opioid abuse and legitimate prescription of pain management drugs. The clinic also stated that its medical staff is heavily cracking down on prescribing opioids as pain relievers due to their highly addictive nature. Long term prescription of opioids is what caused the fatal overdoses of the three patients by the two physicians from the clinic. The best way of preventing future opioid over-prescription is by getting the patient’s full history and then analyzing the condition of the patient. This analysis will help determine the correct dosage that the patient can receive in the long term without becoming resistant to the medication’s effects and being addicted to pain management drugs.
The lawsuits also revealed negligence on the doctors’ part because they failed to keenly follow up on their patients despite having prior knowledge that the prescribed pain management medications were highly addictive. The doctors failed to effectively assess the chronic pain levels of their patients as well as assess how addicted they were to the prescribed medication (“Two Cleveland clinic doctors accused in lawsuits of contributing to three opioid overdose deaths,” 2018). The hospital also failed to refer the patients to medical addiction specialists who could have offered alternative interventions that would have saved their lives in the process.
Patient and employee safety is paramount in the health care industry. The medical facility has to ensure that its employees and patients are well taken care of and protected from all harm. The two above cases have highlighted how accidents and mistake scan have poor outcome or injury on medical staff and patients.