The Patient Advocate

New Guidelines Reinforce Established Rights to Access Medical Records

In January 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidelines regarding the rights of individuals to access their protected health information under HIPAA. Though the guidelines are new, the rights they describe are not. In 2009 the rights to security, privacy, and access to medical information under HIPAA were modified for the digital age when Congress passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Patient Suffered Permanent Nerve Damage Due To Botched Saphenous Vein Harvest

This case involves a gentleman in his 60s who suffered needless injury due to medical negligence during his preparation for a coronary bypass surgery (CABG). In preparation, the doctors planned to perform an endoscopic vein harvest of the patient’s saphenous vein. The patient was placed under general anesthesia, and a physician’s assistant endoscopically attempted to remove the necessary saphenous vein from the patient’s leg. Due to lack of proper supervision and experience, the PA mistakenly removed a large portion of the patient’s saphenous nerve instead of the vein, causing permanent and avoidable nerve injury in his leg as a result of the physician’s assistant failing to follow the standard procedure for vein harvesting.

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Central Line Infections – Still Rampant, but Preventable

Hospitals can easily prevent patients from contracting an infection that still affects 45,000 to 90,000 people per year. This infection is from a common device used to administer medicine and fluids called a central venous catheter (CVC), also known as a central line.This device is a tube that leads straight to the patient’s heart, which allows doctors to administer medicine to their patients quickly.

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Pennsylvania’s Act 47 Law

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has unanimously refused to void Pennsylvania’s Act 47. Act 47 prohibits medical malpractice lawsuits which claim damages in the form of wrongful birth and wrongful life.

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Maternal Deaths Due To Sepsis

Maternal deaths from pregnancy related to sepsis (blood infection) occur at an unacceptably high rate. Deaths due to maternal sepsis increased in the United States from 1998 to 2008.

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Negligent Resuscitation of a Newborn

An infant’s entrance into the world is a challenging time. Going from intrauterine to extrauterine life results in many physiological changes; the lungs take over gas exchange and become filled with air rather than fluid, and blood flow to the

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