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Medication Errors are Just one Reason Highland Hospital is Poorly Rated

Highland Hospital is the primary trauma center in Alameda County and Oakland. It is a Level 1 trauma center and one of the most trafficked emergency departments in the entire country. Highland Hospital is operated by Alameda Health System and affiliated with UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. It is also a popular teaching hospital with two locations: John George Psychiatric Hospital and Fairmont Hospital.

Unfortunately, Highland Hospital has been in the news over the last decade with numerous malpractice cases. The hospital received a poor rating of a D in safety for 2020 — 2x worse than the average hospital score.

Why did Highland Hospital receive such a poor rating?

  • High rate of MRSA infections
  • High rate of Urinary tract infection
  • High rate of surgical site infection
  • High rate of surgical wounds split open
  • High rate of dangerous blood clots
  • Poor communication about meds and discharge
  • Dangerous medication administration
  • Low responsiveness by staff and physicians
  • Poorly trained doctor care for ICU patients

Medical errors and medication errors are more common if hospital leaders do not make safety a priority. Improving safety and communication throughout the departments is a must in order to combat serious and potentially fatal medical injuries. Unfortunately, Highland Hospital scored low in all of these areas.

One of those errors occurred in 2010 when a medication error led to a patient’s death. The Department of Public Health had to step in and fine the hospital for their negligence. It was the second time in a year that the hospital had been fined because of a medical error. In this case, a patient was admitted with shortness of breath and chest pain. The doctor prescribed a medication to be infused slowly. However, communication problems resulted in the nurse administering the medication within five minutes. The patient died due to the improper administration of the drug.

Over the last decade, the Department of Public Health has fined Highland Hospital numerous other times. In 2018, they fined Highland Hospital for a 2017 incident in which the hospital failed to follow policies to prevent control of infection in patients. They noted a series of healthcare violations including failure to pre-clean soiled surgical implements after use.

Hospital Negligence Can Lead to Infections

When a hospital fails to follow necessary safety policies and protocols, patients can get serious and life-threatening infections. Highland Hospital scored extremely low in the area of infection prevention. In particular, they scored low when preventing MRSA, infections in the blood, urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. MRSA is life-threatening and if not treated quickly, can result in death.

When the Department of Public Health fined Highland Hospital, they noted that the facility failed in numerous ways to prevent and control infection. They failed to regularly clean the sterilization room and decontamination room. They failed to use closed clean containers for sterilizing equipment and failed to follow infection control standards.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hospital-acquired infections account for an estimated 1.7 million infections and nearly 100,000 deaths every year. When a patient acquires an infection in the hospital, they spend an additional 6.5 days in the hospital and are more than 5x more likely to be readmitted. Even worse, they are 2x more likely to die from their infections. Of all hospital-acquired infections:

  • Urinary tract infections account for 32 percent
  • Surgical site infections account for 22 percent
  • Pneumonia accounts for 15 percent
  • Bloodstream infections account for 14 percent
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit After a Hospital Acquired Infection

Hospitals and medical treatment centers owe their patients a duty of care to provide a clean environment that minimizes infection. This includes proper sterilization, cleaning and disinfecting of rooms, equipment and tools. It also includes proper handwashing techniques. When a patient acquires an infection in the hospital, it can indicate a larger problem. While not every hospital-acquired infection is the result of medical negligence, many are.

As an infected patient, you have rights. If you believe that your infection was caused by hospital negligence, you should speak to an experienced California medical malpractice attorney at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P immediately. We know that proving medical malpractice after a hospital-acquired infection is difficult. That is why we start by investigating every aspect of your injury from the beginning. Determining liability is complicated and challenging from a legal perspective. That is why you need a law firm on your side from the start. In order to bring a successful lawsuit for damages, we will need to prove:

  • The medical institution owed you a duty of care
  • The institution breached that duty of care and failed to follow proper clean or sterile policies to prevent infection
  • That breach led to you acquiring an infection
  • This infection causes significant damages

To prove negligence, we will need to examine the treatment situation and determine if there was compliance with the appropriate medical standard of care at every aspect of your care. If the infection you acquired was preventable with proper care and cleanliness techniques, your lawsuit has a good chance of success.

Injured at Highland Hospital? We Can Help!

At Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P, our Oakland medical malpractice attorneys have the experience and resources needed to tackle difficult medical malpractice cases. We know what it takes to win medical malpractice claims and our track record of success speaks for itself. We have obtained record-setting medical malpractice claims for our clients, including a $6.5 million award for diagnosis delay, as well as a $4 million settlement for a misdiagnosis.

If you suffered an injury in Highland Hospital, you are not alone. Call us at (408) 289-1417 or fill out our confidential contact form for more information. We offer a free consultation and review of your case to better help you during this difficult time.

Client Reviews
My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.