I had a deposition earlier this week involving a horrible bedsore/starvation claim. After being underfed in the hospital for two weeks because the physicians never saw the three recommended feeding plans from the registered dietician, our very sick client was sent for rehabilitation to a local nursing home.
Upon her transfer, the hospital staff then understated the never-implemented diet. Our client was supposed to be a tube feeding product called Jevity-Plus – because it has more nutrients than regular Jevity. The transfer documents just indicated Jevity. So, the nursing home began under-feeding her right out of the gate.
Not to be outdone by the hospital, though, the nursing home also ignored the recommendations of it’s own dietician for the next two weeks. The document was completed and placed in the chart – without the doctor ever seeing it. No physician’s order was ever generated to implement the feeding plan.
For a solid month, our client starved. In the last two weeks, she lost 6% of her body weight. Not surprisingly, she was malnourished, dehydrated and suffered from horrific bedsores. All of these problems together lead to her death.
In the end, she might have lived had there been better record keeping and more eyes on properly maintained records.
Let’s be clear about this – THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE INJURED AND DIE EVERY YEAR BECAUSE OF BAD RECORDS.
I was gratified to hear an excellent interview on NPR the very next day of bioethicist, Arthur Caplan. He talked about all of these issues and how antiquated our healthcare record keeping system is. He referred to our non-computerized records as something that Dickens would be comfortable with!
It is an excellent interview…and worth a listen. Here is a link to the NPR site. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98387481