Al Harman was a patient in Ross Community Hospital for a ruptured appendix which resulted in an appendectomy and 4 weeks of intensive antibiotic therapy. The severity of Mr. Harman’s condition was exacerbated by his obesity and the length of time from his first symptom and when he sought care. During his stay he complained to the charge nurse that he was not receiving an adequate dose of antibiotics which was the cause of his infection and the length of his stay in the hospital. The charge nurse followed the hospitals risk management procedure, objectively documented the patient’s complaint in the patient’s record, and completed an incident report.
- If a lawsuit is subsequently brought against the hospital, what role does the patient’s record play in this situation?
- Decide whether the incident report would or would not be subject to discovery by Mr. Harman’s attorney.
- Judge whether this incident represents a sentinel event as defined by The Joint Commission.
Expert Solution Preview
In this scenario, Al Harman, a patient in Ross Community Hospital, had a ruptured appendix resulting in an appendectomy and intensive therapy. During his stay, he complained about not receiving an adequate dose of antibiotics, which was documented by the charge nurse through an incident report. This raises questions about the patient’s record, the discoverability of the incident report, and whether this incident qualifies as a sentinel event.
1. If a lawsuit is subsequently brought against the hospital, what role does the patient’s record play in this situation?
The patient’s record plays a significant role in any lawsuit brought against the hospital. The record serves as evidence of the care and treatment provided to the patient, including the documentation of the patient’s complaints, treatment plans, and any errors or omissions that may have occurred. The record can also be used to demonstrate compliance with standards of care and policies established by the hospital.
2. Decide whether the incident report would or would not be subject to discovery by Mr. Harman’s attorney.
The incident report may be subject to discovery by Mr. Harman’s attorney, depending on the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction in which the hospital is located. In general, incident reports are considered privileged and confidential, but they may be discoverable if they contain facts or information that are relevant to the case. Discovery rules also vary depending on the type of lawsuit being brought, such as medical malpractice or negligence.
3. Judge whether this incident represents a sentinel event as defined by The Joint Commission.
A sentinel event is an unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof. While Mr. Harman’s condition was severe and required extensive treatment, the incident involving the dosage of antibiotics does not appear to meet the criteria for a sentinel event as defined by The Joint Commission. However, the incident may still be considered a reportable event under the hospital’s policies and procedures, and may trigger a review of the hospital’s systems and processes to prevent similar events from occurring in the future.