Dangerous Hospital Policy Could Lead to Patient Injuries

December 31, 1969

According to California Watch, a dozen doctors are accusing the leadership of a Southern California hospital of refusing to notify them when patients are admitted. The doctors allege that the hospital fails to contact them when their patients are admitted to the hospital because the doctors refuse to engage in profit-driven practices like needlessly admitting patients to fill empty beds. 1334533_ambulance.jpg

Our Costa Mesa malpractice attorneys know that hospital policies need to be made in accordance with reasonable industry standards and with a focus on patient safety. If the hospital is failing to notify doctors of patient admissions because the doctors aren't making profit-based decisions, this could be putting patients needlessly at risk.

Hospital Policy Could Endanger Patients
Hospitals are required by California law to provide notification to health plans when patients arrive in hospitals and their condition has been stabilized. Hospitals also routinely contact primary care doctors after a patient of that physician has been admitted.

However, the doctors in this case argue that they aren't getting these calls. The hospital, on the other hand, says that there is no law requiring hospitals to contact HMOs or to contact physicians contracted through the HMO. The hospital also says that they do call the primary care doctors if the patient requests them to do so.

Both the dozen doctors and California's biggest health plan are currently engaged in lawsuits arising from similar claims about the absence of notification. The health plan, Kaiser Permanente, has said that the hospital essentially traps patients there by failing to notify Kaiser doctors and failing to let the health plan know the patient has been admitted. The lawsuit by the doctors, however, is the first actually brought by physicians arguing that the hospital is falling short in communicating with doctors.

Unfortunately, if it is true that the hospital is not letting doctors know when patients come in, this could result in harm to the patients. Hospitals may not be aware of the patient's medical history or of the drugs they are on, and they may miss important care information that a doctor could provide. This can result in a patient getting a treatment that is dangerous, in a patient being misdiagnosed, or in a host of other issues for a patient.

If the hospital is indeed motivated by profit only, there is also a risk they are performing unnecessary treatments or tests on a patient. These tests and treatments could, in-and-of-themselves, do harm to a patient. More treatments means more chances of mistake or more chances of an adverse reaction occurring.

The lawsuits by Kaiser and by the doctors remain pending and it will be important to observe the outcome to see if the hospital was found to have done something wrong. Any patient injured by the hospital's policy can also bring their own medical malpractice claim against the hospital and can argue that the hospital acted unreasonably under the circumstances, providing sub-par patient care through their profit-driven policy position.

If you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice, contact HOWARD LAW P.C. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (800) 872-5925.