How to prevent a potential medical malpractice case
The number of medical malpractice suits filed each year in the United States is more than 85,000, but even that staggering number doesn't represent the estimated one million medical injuries that occur.
As a fellow CEO, you know that any medical injury is a potential medical malpractice suit. Among fatal medical injuries, 12,000 people died last year during an unnecessary surgery and 7,000 from medication errors.
As the following article looks at, here are some tips for how to know if you have a potential medical malpractice case on your hands, and ways to avoid becoming part of the statistic.
Implement quality control procedures
The fate of celebrity Joan Rivers has been in the news this year because of the elective nature of the surgery she was going through when she died. However, endoscopy is considered to be a routine exploratory surgery, and it is performed successfully thousands of times every year.
In genuine, unnecessary or routine surgeries where medical malpractice exists, there are usually either underlying causes or anomalies that occur that play into the final outcome.
For example, in Rivers' case, it came to light that an unscheduled and unapproved biopsy may have also occurred during the surgery. In addition, one or more attending physicians felt it appropriate to indulge in a photo opportunity with the unconscious celebrity and mother.
To avoid medical malpractice suits relating to "unnecessary" surgeries, implement a quality control procedure whereby every patient undergoing such a procedure will be visited by an objective third party to obtain answers to a short survey questionnaire after their procedure.
It may seem counterintuitive to question patients regarding their experience after the fact, but in the event that their condition worsens over time, their answers can be used to help any forensic investigation by your hospital or other legal authorities. Their answers will also help on an immediate basis regardless of the outcome, purely as a barometer of the patient care experience in your hospital.
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Patterns of substandard care, either by a certain member of staff or as part of a badly designed process, can be addressed before they lead to a medical malpractice suit.
Assign an oversight department
Technically, medication errors needn't ever happen. The amount of data and specific dosage and contraindications associated with each and every prescription drug should be enough to avoid medication errors.
Yet, with more than 7,000 fatalities linked to medication errors, it's obvious that medicinal details are being overlooked.
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As the hospital CEO, you'd probably agree that medication errors could be connected to overworked and tired staff that miss important details.
To help prevent medication errors due to time shortages or overly-tired doctors and nurses, assign a new oversight department that is in charge of monitoring and enforcing maximum working shifts for attending staff. This one change could drastically reduce the number of medication errors in your hospital, thereby reducing your medical malpractice exposure.
Staying focused on patient care is the number one factor that can contribute the most to avoiding medical malpractice. If you can get everyone on board with that concept, you'll see better results immediately.
About the author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.
Bachem turns 50 - a timeline
Bachem, a supplier to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. We take a look at the Swiss company's history.
1971 - beginnings
Bachem is founded by entrepreneur Peter Grogg in Liestal, a small town near Basel in Switzerland. Grogg started the firm with just two employees, and with a focus on peptide synthesis - peptides are composed of amino acids that have a variety of functions treating health conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
1977 - 1981 - early growth
Bachem moves its headquarters to the Swiss town of Bubendorf, with eight employees. In 1978 the company produces peptides for use in medicines for the first time. In 1981 production capacity triples and the workforce grows to 150.
1987 - 1996 - worldwide expansion
The company expands into the US with Bachem Bioscience, Inc. in Philadelphia. To strengthen its presence in Europe, Bachem opens sales and marketing centres in Germany in 1988.
Further sales centres open in France in 1993. By 1995 the company employs 190 people. In 1996 it acquires the second largest manufacturer of peptides in the world and forms Bachem California with a site in Torrance.
1998 - 2003 - Bachem goes public
Bachem company goes public and lists shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Further acquisitions include Peninsula Laboratories, Inc, based in California, and Sochinaz SA, a Swiss-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients. By 2001, the company has 500 employees and sales reach 141 million CHF.
In 2003 the organisation is given a new legal holding structure to support its continued growth, which remains in place to this day.
2007 - 2013 - acquisitions
Bachem acquires a brand by Merck Biosciences for ready-to-use clinical trial materials and related services.
In 2013, together with GlyTech, Inc. Bachem announces the development of a new amino acid that can help to treat multiple sclerosis, with a world market of more than $4 billion.
In 2015 it acquires the American Peptide Company (APC), which becomes integrated into Bachem Americas.
2016 - 2019 - a global leader
In 2016 the group opens a new building dedicated to R&D projects and small series production in Bubendorf. With a total of 1,022 employees, the workforce exceeds the 1,000 mark for the first time in the company’s history. Sales are over the 200 million mark for the first time at 236.5 million CHF.
Bachem expands into Asia with the establishment of a new company in Tokyo called Bachem Japan K.K.
By 2019 Bachem has a growing oligonucleotide portfolio - these are DNA molecules used in genetic testing, research, and forensics. It is hoped this will become a significant product range in the future.
2020 - COVID-19
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bachem secures its supply of active ingredients, and even increases it in critical areas. Sales exceed the 400 million Swiss franc mark for the first time, and 272 new employees are hired.
2021 - a milestone anniversary
Bachem celebrates its 50th anniversary and position as a global leader in the manufacture of peptides. While it remains headquartered in Bubendorf, the company employs 1,500 people at six locations worldwide. In the next five years there are plans to continue expanding.
Commemorating the company's anniversary, Kuno Sommer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: "Bachem's exceptional success story from a small laboratory to a global market leader is closely linked to Peter Grogg's values, and has been shaped by innovation, consistent quality and cost awareness, as well as by entrepreneurial vision."