When a patient is afflicted with a serious kidney disease, he or she often undergoes dialysis. During this procedure, the dialysis machine acts as an artificial kidney, and the procedure carries with it the inherent possibility of danger to the patient. Therefore, it is both a life-saving and a life-threatening procedure. It is frequently performed at private, for-profit dialysis centers. Some studies indicate that dialysis patients who have the procedure performed at a private, for-profit center face a statistically significant higher risk of death than those treated at a non-profit center.
Generally, patients are treated at for-profit dialysis centers for a shorter period of time than those attending non-profit centers. In addition, the for-profit centers typically have smaller staffs that may not be as well trained as their counterparts who work in a non-profit facility.
One of the major problems in the dialysis procedure, whether performed at a for-profit or a non-profit center, is the boredom of the staff due to the routine and chronic nature of the treatment process. There is an increased danger is making mistakes or serious judgment errors when the staff acquires an “assembly line” mentality in dealing with patients.
Examples of potential malpractice in the dialysis setting include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Use of short cuts that have not been approved and that are not in compliance with the required standard of care.
- Failure to check the dialysis machine, settings, and alarms before initiating a patient’s treatment.
- Failure to monitor and assist an unstable patient, which results in a fall.
- Medication errors, such as omission, wrong dosage, wrong patient.
- Failure to follow a physician’s orders or the following of orders that the healthcare professional should have known were erroneous.
- Failure to properly inspect, maintain, repair, or use equipment.
- Failure to monitor a patient’s condition during treatment and to respond to any problems in a timely and appropriate manner.
Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.