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Howard University hospital cited for high malpractice rate

Starting with its founding in 1862, Howard University Hospital in the District of Columbus has historically provided quality medical care for the city's black population. A recent report by the Washington Post now shows that the hospital is suffering from poor management and a high number of medical malpractice lawsuits and settlements.

The Post examined records relating to 675 malpractice cases involving Howard and five other hospitals in the District. Of those six, Howard had the highest rate of wrongful death lawsuits per bed. Howard and its insurers paid $27 million to settle 22 of 82 cases medical negligence cases filed against it. The details of settlements in other cases were not made public.

Perhaps even more troubling was the report's finding that Howard University Hospital has frequently been cited by District officials for violating its own operating policies and also federal and local laws. According to the Post, city health regulators have found and documented dozens of problems, including failure to provide adequate oversight of medical residents, inoperable operating room equipment, poor record keeping, and an indifferent nursing staff. The hospital also lost accreditation for five training programs since 2002. In 2014, the hospital hired a California management firm in an effort to correct these and other shortcomings. The firm appears to be making some progress, but it did not respond to inquiries by the Post reporters who were conducting the study.

As this article shows, individuals can suffer and even die if a hospital staff makes errors in caring for patients. Anyone who has suffered an injury or was deprived of proper medical care by a hospital staff may wish to consult a lawyer who handles medical malpractice cases. Such a consultation can provide a useful analysis of the facts and law that may govern the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Source: Washington Post, "Howard University Hospital shows symptoms of a severe crisis," Cheryl W. Thompson, March 25, 2017

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