My dear father, a 77-year old man with a history of pulmonary problems, suffered irreversible brain damage when he was deprived of oxygen and received a large quantity of pain and anti-anxiety medicine which caused him to go into respiratory arrest. He needed an MRI to diagnose some extreme back pain, and was transported via ambulance from the hospital to the hospital’s MRI facility across the street without his oxygen. He was also without oxygen for the duration of the MRI.
Consumers Union Documents
- Preventable Harm: California Fails to Follow Through With Patient Safety Laws
- CU Letter to CA Department of Health Care Services (pdf)
CU sent a letter to Kathleen Billingsley at the Department of Health Care Services following our meeting on December 16 regarding state implementation of the hospital-acquired infection and adverse event reporting laws. Consumers Union (December 28, 2009)
- CU Public Records Act Request to California Department of Public Health (pdf)
CU filed a Public Records request for documents related to adverse events and hospital acquired infections made available to the public through legislation passed since 2006. Consumers Union (February 16, 2010)
- CU Comments to California Board of Pharmacy in Support of Labels Large Enough to Read (pdf)
March 9, 2010 (Consumers Union)
- CU Comments to Board of Podiatric Medicine Regarding Notice to Consumers (pdf)
Consumers Union writes in support of the Board of Podiatric Medicine’s (BPM) adoption of proposed section 1399.730, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. This proposal requires doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs) to notify their patients that they are licensed by the State of California, and provides the Board’s website address and the toll-free number where consumers with complaints may seek guidance.
- CU Letter to California Board of Pharmacy in Support of Patient-Centered Labels on Prescription Drugs
Consumers Union wrote a letter to the California Board of Pharmacy in support of proposed Section 1707.5 of Division 17 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations that would make labels on prescription medication containers safer and better-suited for patients’ needs by requiring pharmacies to use standardized font
- CA Safe Patient Network
Description of the organization and mission.
- CU Summary of CA Hospital Licensing
CU Summary of CA Hospital Licensing
- CU summary of CA Health Agencies
CU summary of CA Health Agencies
- CU Overview of Patient Safety Organizations
CU Overview of Patient Safety Organizations
- In Honor of Patients
Join patient safety advocates across the country tomorrow to observe Patient Safety Day.
- A Doctor’s Right to a Livelihood vs. a Patient’s Right to Live – The Discussion Continues
Guest blogger Michele Monserratt-Ramos, President of Californians for Patients’ Rights, attended a forum to discuss the Regulatory Management of Chemically Dependent Healthcare Practitioners. These are policy filled terms that translate to “what to do with doctors and health care workers in our health system who abuse drugs or alcohol.”
- Insight from California Safe Patient Network
Guest blogger, Holly Harris from San Diego, shares what she learned at the California Safe Patient Network meeting and calls on us to join and spread the word about preventable medical harm.
- Activists speak out at Presidential health care forum
Your stories matter. We are listening—and we’re getting those at the highest levels of government to listen, too.
- Raise your hand if you’ve had a hospital-acquired infection
More people know about hospital acquired infections and medical errors than you might think, and not just from watching Oprah.
- The better half: California hospital infection reporting bills signed into law!
California becomes 25th state to require public reporting of hospital infections and 4th state to require MRSA screening of certain patients.
- MRSA takes its toll on father and son
Following a bike accident, Jimmy Jr. needed knee surgery hoping to be strong enough to play high school football. Instead he acquired MRSA…
- CA activist Carole Moss leads effort on hospital infection bills
Carole Moss has been a lead advocate on the effort to pass legislation requiring California hospitals to report their infection rates available to the public. The bill is named after her son, Nile, who died of MRSA, an antibiotic resistant superbug. The legislation also requires screening of patients for MRSA and isolating those that have it.
- Survivor turned movement leader: Meet Alicia
Alicia Cole, an actress and hospital infection survivor, last Friday launched her own initiative to finally pass an infection reporting law in California.
- Common sense shouldn’t take two years – unless it’s the FDA
Should it really take two years to study a common-sense proposal to make drug ads better for consumers? Not unless it’s the Food and Drug Administration, which has taken foot-dragging to new heights
- Herbalife cozies up with UCLA Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday February 22, 2013)
Los Angeles Times: “UCLA’s Medical School has an unusually close relationship with Herbalife, which constantly promotes its connection to doctors there. Where do sensible ideas end and the shilling for Herbalife begin?”
- Calif. Nursing Home Chain Agrees to Settlement With State Source: California Healthline (Tuesday February 19, 2013)
California Healthline reports: “As part of a settlement with the state attorney general’s office, Skilled Healthcare Group will pay $350,000 annually for two years to cover the cost of an independent monitor that will conduct surprise inspections of the nursing home chain and report back to the attorney general’s office on its compliance with state staffing laws.”
- Legal drugs, deadly outcomes (Dying for Relief, a Times Investigation) Source: Los Angeles Times (Sunday November 11, 2012)
Prescription overdoses kill more people than heroin and cocaine. An L.A. Times review of coroners’ records finds that drugs prescribed by a small number of doctors caused or contributed to a disproportionate number of deaths.
- Consumer group calls for laws to boost monitoring of doctors Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday February 7, 2013)
Consumer Watchdog says reforms are needed to reduce the rising number of prescription drug overdoses and to rein in incompetent and corrupt physicians.
- Public Health Department Fines Seven Hospitals a Total of $775K Source: California Healthline (Thursday February 7, 2013)
On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health fined seven California hospitals a total of $775,000 for 10 violations that endangered patients’ health or led to their deaths, Payers & Providers reports.
- Consumer Watchdog Seeks Stronger Oversight of Rx Overprescribing Source: California Healthline (Thursday February 7, 2013)
In a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Wednesday, Consumer Watchdog called for legislation to improve monitoring of physicians who overprescribe medications, the Los Angeles Times reports. The letter was prompted by a Times investigation that found the state’s oversight of such physicians to be lacking (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 2/7).
- Neurosurgeon targeted in malpractice litigation sues Ventura hospital, area doctor Source: Ventura County Star (Monday January 14, 2013)
Ventura County Star reports on a neurosurgeon who was sued for malpractice 20 times in California and had his hospital privileges suspended there. The suits claim “he performed overly aggressive back surgeries that often ended in infection and sometimes corrective surgery.” The surgeon moved to Michigan to continue practicing, denies malpractice, and says his suspension was a sham to avoid having to pay him a big bonus.
- Ninth Circuit Backs Plaintiffs in Medical Device Litigation Source: The Recorder (Thursday January 10, 2013)
A ruling on a state lawsuit concerning medical devices found that federal law will not pre-empt or prevent the case from moving forward.
- Anthony Chicotel: Medical board allows over-drugging of elderly patients Source: Mercury News (Tuesday January 8, 2013)
The California Medical board takes no action when elderly patients are over-medicated.
- New law to allow a hospital pharmacy to operate a centralized hospital packaging pharmacy
New addresses avoiding adverse events by barcoding drug doses that are prepared for individual unit packaging by the central pharmacy of sister hospitals. Hospitals must be certified by the board of pharmacy:
Research and Reports
- Influenza Vaccination Among Employees in California General Acute Care Hospitals for the 2008-2009 Respiratory Season
The California Department of Public Health reports findings revealed in Consumers Union’s report that only about half of California healthcare workers got vaccinated during the 2008-2009 flu season.
- Events that are never supposed to happen in state hospitals (graphic)
Graphic of some of the adverse events reported by California hospitals over the past two fiscal years.
- Doctors Behaving Badly: Medical boards should drop the stone tools, join the digital age
Many state medical board websites are not consumer-friendly, and it can be confusing or impossible to find information about a doctor’s disciplinary, criminal or malpractice history. In response, journalist William Heisel has created a Google map of “doctors behaving badly” with links to bad doctor new articles.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern about the Quality of Care from a California Physician
Steps you can take if you are concerned about your care under a CA physician.
- What To Do If You Have Concern About Quality in a California Nursing Home
Steps you can take if you are concerned about the quality of care in a CA nursing home.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a California Hospital
What to do if you are concerned about your hospital’s quality of care and links to resources that can help. It addresses steps you can take within a hospital or with organizations that regulate or oversee hospitals.
- California Health Facilities Information
California residents can search this California Department of Public Health website for information on health facilities such as ownership, certification status (acceptance of Medicare and/or Medi-Cal) and performance history including complaints; entity reported incidents, state enforcement actions, and survey deficiencies. You can also submit a complaint regarding a specific facility.
- Problems with the Board of Registered Nursing Enforcement and Diversion Programs (PDF)
On July 11, 2009, the Los Angeles Times, in conjunction with Pro-Publica, a non-profit investigative news agency, published an article entitled “When Caregivers Harm: Problem Nurses Stay on the Job as Patients Suffer,” charging that Board of Registered Nursing, which oversees California’s more than 350,000 nurses, often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct. Nurses with histories of drug abuse, negligence, violence, and incompetence continue to provide care, and BRN often took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline errant nurses.
- CA: List of hospital fines by county
See if hospitals in your county have had administrative penalties issued by the California Department of Public Health.
- 10 Steps for Students to Prevent MRSA
Are you a student? Learn how to protect yourself from MRSA by using this printable pocket guide prepared by Nile’s Project.