ER doctor cleared of medical malpractice

From the Cortez Journal:

The plaintiff argued that an emergency room doctor’s lack of care led to a patient committing suicide. The defense claimed the patient told the doctor he wasn’t suicidal. A jury sided with the doctor.

After nearly three hours of deliberations on Friday, June 6, a jury of five women and one man decided the plaintiff, Renee Villelli, suffered damages, but ruled Southwest Memorial Hospital emergency room physician, Dr. Mark Turpen, was neither negligible nor caused the damages in the June 10, 2010, death of her husband, Ted Villelli.

ED patient with heroin in his pants denies knowing it was there, police say

From NJ:

 Inspira Medical Center staff found heroin in the pants of a city man who was admitted into the emergency room, according to authorities.

“He later advised police that he didn’t know how the items got into his pants,” police said.

(Letter to the Editor) Paramedics can’t take place of visiting nurses

From the Boston Globe:

THERE ARE no doubt too many patients who are transported by ambulance unnecessarily to the emergency room, driving up health costs for everyone. However, having paramedics make home visits is not the answer (“A new source for the old house call,” Page A1, May 31). There is already an infrastructure in Massachusetts cities and towns that could respond to this problem. Local visiting nurse associations can provide alternative care to keep a patient out of the emergency room.

Nurses and home physical therapists are skilled in providing safety and fall-risk assessments. Paramedics are expert in providing emergent life-saving care, but an additional 300 hours of training for those who would be making home visits is inadequate for the task required of them.

5 customer service lessons to boost ED patient satisfaction

From Fierce Healthcare:

A nurse-driven, investigative approach to customer service helped nurses at Grady Memorial Hospital’s emergency department boost patient satisfaction and improve interdepartmental communication, according to Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses.

Emergency room nurses, who treat approximately 10,000 patients every month at the urban safety-net academic hospital in Atlanta, created a five-step customer service initiative to act out broad scenarios while moderators gave them challenges they’d encounter in an everyday setting, according to the article.

After implementing the class in late 2012, the hospital saw noticeable increases in patient satisfaction ratings, and expanded the program to reach about 95 percent of ED nurses and more than 40 attending emergency physicians, the article said.

Strategies for ED Psych Patients

From HealthLeaders Media:

More and more patients with behavioral and mental health issues are showing up in EDs across the country because of the reductions in the number of psychiatric beds, mental health funding, and psychiatrists.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the largest nonprofit advocacy groups for people living with mental illness, estimates more than half of the states cut mental health budgets by $1.6 billion between 2009 and 2012. The Treatment Advocacy Center, another nonprofit aimed at helping mentally ill patients, released a 2012 study showing a 14% decrease in state-funded psychiatric beds from 2005 to 2010.

But as most states found out quickly, fewer beds doesn’t mean fewer patients. Instead it means crowded EDs, says Jeff Klingler, CEO of the Central Ohio Hospital Council, which spearheaded an effort six years ago in central Ohio to coordinate psychiatric bed availability among competing hospitals.