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Parkland Hospital Audits Raise Troubling Questions

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 29, 2011

Audits such as these also undermine assertions that "frivolous" medical malpractice lawsuits are driving up healthcare costs. It's a hard sell for hospitals to claim they're the victims of opportunistic trial lawyers when hospital workers aren't doing something as basic as washing their hands. Before asking patients to surrender their right to legal redress, healthcare needs to clean up its act.

A detailed study of the workplace culture at Parkland Hospital should be conducted to determine what led to this breakdown in fundamental operations, chain-of-command, accountability, and employee engagement. It is important that we know why because what happened at Parkland could happen -- and has happened -- elsewhere.

There must be caring, compassionate and competent healthcare professionals at Parkland. So, where were they? How could staff allow such wholesale chaos to occur? Were attempts to bring these potentially lethal threats to patient health and safety to light ignored or discouraged by hospital leadership? Or were the systemic failures at Parkland so great that staff simply gave up trying?

What would drive a considerable number of educated, competent, compassionate and decent healthcare professionals at Parkland to ignore the safety and well-being of their patients? How did these healthcare professionals get to this painful point?

 


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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2 comments on "Parkland Hospital Audits Raise Troubling Questions"


Spangler (9/7/2011 at 12:16 AM)
Everything listed is preventable. Sure the media juices it up but it's really just the principle of it. There is one thing not listed: the letters sent to recent mothers to urgently get tested for aids if they delivered at parkland in the last few months. Tell me that's not scary?! Wildfires=not controlled clean hospital beds and proper disposal= controlled. Our human population= controlled by Parkland. there really is no excuse and there's a reason its getting blasted!

Kathy Wire (8/30/2011 at 10:15 AM)
I agree with your basic concepts in this article. However, I suspect that many hospitals would face a similar verdict if faced with the intensity and manpower dedicated to the survey of Parkland. I fear that your article will allow many of them to hold up their noses, presuming that they are "better." Instead, we should all look at the survey and the publicity surrounding it and say, "There but for the grace of...."