Patient Deaths, Doctor Shortages and Reform in Maine

Also, Obama’s proposal is up.

More coverage here.

The Globe had a good story Sunday on a fatal device breakdown at Mass General

 Looking at the second paragraph, it appears this story was heavily lawyered, as we say in the news biz — edited with liability in mind. It lists everything that MGH has done since and goes on to quote someone saying these devices are faulty.

A Massachusetts General Hospital patient died last month after the alarm on a heart monitor was inadvertently left off, delaying the response of nurses and doctors to the patient’s medical crisis.

Hospital administrators said they immediately began an investigation, which led them to inspect and disable the off switch on alarms on all 1,100 of Mass. General’s heart monitors within a day of the death. The hospital also has temporarily assigned a nurse in each unit to specifically listen for alarms, out of concern that sometimes even functioning alarms can’t be heard over the din of a busy ward.

Patient safety officials said the tragedy at Mass. General shines a spotlight on a national problem with heart sensors and other ubiquitous patient monitoring devices. Numerous deaths have been reported because alarms malfunctioned or were turned off, ignored, or unheard.

 

From AP via WBZTV

ME Lawmakers Urged To Keep Working On Health Care

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) ― Many measures aimed at expanding health care coverage in Maine should await final action in Congress, but policymakers should not stop working on the issue, Maine insurance regulators say.

In a preliminary report, the state Insurance Bureau says Maine’s options to improve access, affordability and security in the health care system will vary depending on what, if any, federal laws are enacted. Separate bills passed by the U.S. House and Senate await final disposition.

KHN story on rural doctor shortages cites Mass fix: Make nurse practitioners primary care providers.  (Note. I wrote a story about 15 years ago about how the county featured here had no doc. It is very isolated part of the state. NC has a good rural health program but it can be hard to keep them down on the farm.)

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