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Article/ Case Law Search

Lisa Gardner

HCS 430

January 28, 2011

Maria Wood

Article/ Case Law Search

There are numerous laws and regulations that govern the health care industry and profession. Laws and regulations are governed by federal and state legislature. Understanding how health care laws are put into place and action is essential for understanding laws in health care. Once it is understood how laws are put into effect it is easier to understand laws in the health care arena. One health care issue that is regulated by laws is SARS.

Process of Laws

Laws begin as an idea or a particular need of the people. Laws pertaining to federal practices must originate in the house. Most legislation begins as a proposal in the two houses. Then, a hearing will be held to determine both public and special interest views of both houses. During the hearings, the committee that the bill goes to will consider the language of the bill and it can be amended or changed during this process. Once both the Senate and House agree to pass the bill, it will go to a committee of Senates and Representatives to work out any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The final version of the bill must be agreed upon and approved by both House and Senate. When the two come to a final agreement, the bill will go to the President to be signed into law.

Infectious Disease and Patient Safety

Health care providers have an ethical and legal responsibility to protect patients from infectious diseases. Health care facilities who fail to implement efficient infection control precautions risk patient safety resulting in a SARS outbreak. “Improper sterilization of equipment exposed patients to diseases including HIV, Hepatitis, and bloodstream infections that risk patient safety” (Bailey & Ries, 2010, p. 141). A hospital or health care facility acquired infection exhibits signs about three days after a patient is admitted. Infections acquired in a hospital are defined as Nosocomial infections. Ineffective infection control creates safety concerns for patients because the result in most cases is death of the patient. Infections obtained in a medical facility are usually antibiotic resistant “Bloodstream infections (BSIs) are a huge cause of death based on data from death certificates, these infections are the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (Wisplinghoff, Bischoff, Tallent, Seifert, Wenzel & Edmond, 2004, p. 309). Patient safety issues are responsible for a large number of lawsuits in the health care industry.

“Health Grades Inc., a U.S. company that evaluates safety and quality concerns in health facilities, reported that rates of hospital-acquired infections in the United States rose by 20% between 2000 and 2003, contributing to around 9,500 deaths” (Bailey & Ries, 2010, p. 141). Health care facilities have a legal obligation to protect patients from Nosocomial infection or any other harm while receiving medical care. When patients experience harm because of a lapse in infection control during the course of medical care, legal issues regarding liability result in a large class action lawsuits if more than one patient experienced harm. A health care organization is liable for a patient’s infection if negligence is the fault of the health care facility. To minimize the risk of lawsuits healthcare organizations should educate staff in infection prevention and ensure that proper procedures are followed by all health care professionals.(University of Michigan, 2002, p. 3).

When filing one case a class action lawsuit for patients in Canada, who contracted SARS claiming that the hospital failed to implement infection control precautions. In another case a number of Canadian hospitals improperly sterilized equipment put patients at risk of infection. Patients filed a class action suit claiming that those hospitals failed to provide safe patient...
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