From news reports, Central Florida residents learned that Altamonte Springs-based Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare (known to our community by its trade names, “Florida Hospital” and “Florida Hospital Medical Group”) was accused by the Department of Justice of knowingly administering potentially contaminated chemotherapy drugs to patients. “The fact that Adventist Health admitted to improper acts and agreed to pay $2.09 million to the federal government is not going to restore public faith,” explains Orlando medical malpractice attorney Jeff Badgley. “The fact is, hospital medical malpractice is rampant in Central Florida, and our community has good reason to be concerned.”
Single-dose chemotherapy vials
To understand what happened, patients and their loved ones need to know how these drugs should be administered. Single-dose vials of chemotherapy drugs are intended to be administered to only one patient in order to prevent the spread of harmful agents from one patient to another. Not only is it dangerous for health care providers to administer the leftover drugs in a vial to another patient, it’s illegal.
Protecting vulnerable patients
Patients receiving chemotherapy are among our most vulnerable citizens. Among the side effects, they have an increased risk of infection and are advised to avoid contact with others who may have an infection. Dosing these patients with previously-used and potentially contaminated drugs exposes them to the very infections they are meant to avoid. Patients who are worried that they may have been injured due to this kind of exposure should contact a medical l malpractice lawyer.
Profits over people?
In this case, Adventist Health Systems’ inappropriate use of the single-dose vials allegedly caused some patients to be admitted for treatment. You would have to ask yourself, why would the hospital system engage in such a reckless and harmful practice with its patients? Obviously, re-using opened vials saves money. The answer to this question may also be found with the additional allegation by the Department of Justice that AHS was guilty of “upcoding” or deceitfully billing for treatments for a period of about 4 years. “Upcoding” occurs when a provider submits codes for more serious (and more expensive) diagnoses or procedures than the provider actually diagnosed or performed. Clearly, this hospital corporation was taking shortcuts to increase profits, while placing patients at risk. Unfortunately, these are often the circumstances that can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit against a hospital or other healthcare provider.
“It is unfair to patients, who trust their doctors to give them the best possible treatment, to have to wonder if they are in fact getting the care they deserve. It’s also wrong for patients to have to deal with the consequences of hospital medical malpractice,” says Badgley.
An Orlando Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help
As an Orlando medical malpractice attorney who works daily with clients who have been injured as a result of hospital negligence, Badgley is well-versed in the issues patients face when they encounter hospital and physician abuse. If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of hospital medical malpractice or if you have questions about a settled medical practice suit, contact Badgley Law Group today at 407-781-0240.