NEW YORK–LAWFUEL – Healthcare Law – A new report in the New York Times illustrates the essential need for hospitals to disclose more data on how well they are performing. “The Data Tell a Different Story on Heart Patients” (March 7, 2007), indicates that when hospitals know the public will learn how long, on average, it takes them to respond with certain life-saving procedures, those medical institutions strive to remedy errors and delays in their care-giving.
“Being able to compare hospitals’ success rates will force an improvement in the standard of care,” said Allan Zelikovic, head of the Medical Malpractice department at Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. “For the hospitals it’s a question of pride and competition; for the patients, it’s a matter of life and death.”
According to the article, when doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center realized in 2002 that regulators would soon be releasing hospital data on heart attacks to the public, they took note, vastly improving their performance in how long it took to move heart attack sufferers into a catheterization lab and open up their arteries to get blood flowing again.
U.C.S.F. reportedly drastically reduced its response time from a three-hour wait on average before a patient’s arteries were unblocked, in 2002, to just 90 minutes in 2003. In effect, releasing the data to the public prompted U.C.S.F. to come up with the right performance measures and to make adjustments in the way its doctors responded to patients having a heart attack. Research has shown that patients have the best chance of recovering if their arteries are opened within two hours.
Weitz & Luxenberg believes the public has a right to know how well their local medical systems are measuring up. Given the correlation between released data on certain procedures and the subsequent improvement in those procedures nationwide, the country would benefit from requiring hospitals and systems to report more data on their progress.
Those who have been affected by medical malpractice may contact Weitz & Luxenberg by calling our Client Relations Department at 800-476-6070 or e-mailing [email protected] Please also visit our website: www.weitzlux.com
About Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C.
Weitz & Luxenberg, founded in 1986, is one of the leading plaintiffs’ litigation law firms in America. The firm has played leading roles in national and local litigations involving asbestos, DES, and silicone breast implants, among others. A forerunner in the legal fight against environmental polluters, Weitz & Luxenberg has worked with clients harmed by MTBE and mercury, among other toxins. The firm has won numerous cases involving dangerous pharmaceuticals, including Vioxx, achieving a $13.5 million verdict against Merck & Co. (docket No. ATLL129605).