Hazardous Hospital Transfers

When a loved one is critically ill and taken to the hospital, the last thing you want to hear is that the hospital is not equipped to handle his or her condition. Nevertheless, this situation is more common than you might imagine. In those instances, it is typically necessary to transfer the patient to a different facility, to ensure he or she receives the best possible care.

Transferring a critically ill patient from one hospital to another is fraught with risk, however. While it is often the best course of action to protect the patient's well-being, the chance for errors is high. In addition, doctors have reported that hospitals do not always communicate as effectively or efficiently as they should when transferring patients.

Consequently, if your loved one must be moved from one hospital to another to receive appropriate care, most importantly, could be lifesaving.

Common risks for patients transferred between hospitals

The hazards associated with moving a patient from one facility to another begin when the patient leaves the hospital. While the patient is en route to another hospital, the amount of resources available to deal with emergencies is lower than when the patient is at either facility. As a result, some hospitals have implemented risk scores to determine whether the benefits of moving the patient outweigh the risks associated with the transfer.

In some cases, however, the transfer is still deemed necessary after evaluating the potential hazards. For instance, if a hospital lacks a physician with the requisite training or experience in a certain specialty, another hospital with a physician trained in that area would likely provide better care. Also, at times hospitals will not have the resources necessary to provide sufficient care, such as a lack of beds for the patients.

In those situations, when a patient must be moved, both hospitals have a responsibility to prevent a gap in care due to a lack of communication. Subsequently, the receiving hospital often spends time duplicating tests that have already been completed. In the interim, while the physicians are attempting to determine how best to treat the patient, his or her condition could be worsening. In the worst-case scenarios, a wrongful death could occur.

Hold those responsible for errors accountable

When a patient is injured due to failures on the part of the team at either the transferring or receiving hospital, the responsible parties should be held accountable for their negligence. A knowledgeable, Ann Arbor personal injury attorney will ensure the injured party's rights are protected and just compensation is received.