Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2019

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Marshall Allen

Story Archive

Admitting harm protects patients
Harvard hospital led the way on transparency in reporting cases of harm
Sunday, March 27, 2011
As Nevada legislators debate this week whether to require hospitals to publicly report when they harm patients, they could learn a lot from Paul Levy’s experience in pulling back the veil of hospital secrecy.
Mistake admitted, respect earned
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Dr. David Ring had just finished operating on the hand of a 65-year-old woman when he made a discovery that two years later still brings tears to his eyes.
A century later, openess still gets tepid embrace
Sunday, March 27, 2011
A century ago, Dr. Ernest Amory Codman, a Harvard surgeon, led a one-man campaign for health care transparency and in the process became a “martyr of quality.”
Doctor linked to patient deaths suing out of spite, witness says
Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011
A nationally known pain specialist says she’s become the target of intimidation for speaking out against a Henderson doctor who has been linked by authorities to multiple deaths and lost his license to prescribe controlled substances.
Ex-UMC manager punished after patient records leak
Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011
One key question remained after a man recently pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining private patient information from University Medical Center: Who was the hospital employee who conspired to sell the information?
Doctor: Taking care of ourselves will enrich the nation as a whole
Monday, Jan. 31, 2011
Dr. Michael Roizen believes that America is at a crisis point because of chronic diseases. But it can be reversed by healthier living.
Decades after airline crash, lessons learned applied in operating room
Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011
United Airlines Flight 173 was approaching Portland, Ore., when the pilot realized something was wrong with the landing gear.
Double ouch: Doctor operates on wrong knee
Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011
Steve Anderson immediately noticed a problem when he awoke from surgery at North Vista Hospital on Aug. 13, 2009.
Cutting the insurers out
When Dr. Kevin Petersen began offering cash-pay surgeries to uninsured patients, his friends told him he was crazy. Now, four years later, he wouldn’t work any other way
Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
Dr. Kevin Petersen’s peers thought he was crazy when he started offering cash-pay surgery to uninsured patients about four years ago. But about 700 no-insurance surgeries later, he’s opting out of all of his remaining insurance contracts. Petersen went to medical school at Tufts University, has been licensed in Nevada since 2000, and has performed about 25,000 surgeries.
Inspection to determine if MountainView loses Medicare payments
Second inspection to determine if changes made; Medicare payments in balance
Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
A recent inspection at MountainView Hospital will determine whether the facility loses its Medicare payments, a staggering financial blow.
State probes physician's firing of foreign doctor
Federal eyes again on employer at center of J-1 investigation
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011
Dr. Rachakonda Prabhu, one of the most politically connected physicians in Las Vegas, has been the subject of an investigation by the federal government for his alleged mistreatment of foreign doctors he employs.
Health care facility inspections to be cut if fees not raised
Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011
State inspections are a tool to protect patients from harm in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities. But inspections cost money.
'You can't kill my mother and get away with it'
Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
This is an insurgency no one wanted to join. The patient safety advocates who gathered last month for their annual strategy session were drafted by tragedy — a botched surgery, a preventable infection or some other hospital incident that launched them into battle to protect others from suffering harm when they seek healing.
Local hospitals’ willingness to change culture would be a step toward better care, transparency
Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
It’s too late to protect Don Carlson, who was almost killed by a deadly infection he contracted in a Las Vegas hospital. The lengthy recovery cost him his security guard job, and now he’s in bankruptcy.

How to put patients first
Rising above a fear of malpractice suits, pioneers in health care safety enact seven pillars that work
Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010
Dr. Tim McDonald is standing by the operating room nurses’ station, explaining how a medical error sent a patient into cardiac arrest. He’s holding two similar medicine vials, each about the size of a thimble, with black print on white-and-lavender labels.
Influential voices weigh in on Las Vegas hospital care
Sun gets answers to statements that have surfaced in investigative series on hospital care in Las Vegas
Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
An investigation by the Sun has identified thousands of cases of patients having suffered preventable harm in Las Vegas hospitals. The Sun sat down with three people who have something to say about hospital care.
MRSA affects whole family
Couple describe their anguish after hospital staff withheld diagnosis of a serious infection contracted after a heart attack
Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010
Just months after David Spendlove contracted a deadly bacteria in a hospital, he and his wife found themselves this week telling their story to a captivated audience of 200 nurses and administrators from hospitals and nursing homes. The couple’s message: Don’t deceive your patients if something has gone wrong. Don’t minimize what’s happening. Don’t lie.
Study: Patients suffering harm in hospitals a national problem
Medicare findings echo substandard care revealed in Sun probe
Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010
An ongoing Las Vegas Sun investigation paints a bleak portrait of hospital care in Southern Nevada. But according to a federal government study released Tuesday, the situation may be much worse.
Why we suffer
Substandard hospital care has roots in a culture of seeking profits, shunning best practices, turning away from problems
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
Mediocre hospital care in the Las Vegas Valley, evidenced by thousands of preventable injuries, infections and deaths, can be traced to a few fundamental causes.
After surgery, an injury uncured
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
Everything went fine with Sern Englestead’s heart surgery. Not so, though, in postoperative recovery.
Missouri family loses its rock
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
David Butts died within hours of being administered a painkiller while trying to pass a kidney stone at Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center.
How to file a complaint
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
To file a complaint about:
Flesh wound was so much more
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
The only way people believe his story, Harold Abramowski says, is when they see his scar.
Leaving hospital saved her life
Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010
Kathy Shafer knew she was bleeding internally after an operation at Sunrise Hospital Medical Center, but she says no one would listen to her.
State to host summit on halting spread of MRSA superbug
Friday, Oct. 1, 2010
Confronted with a deadly MRSA epidemic, Nevada health care regulators will gather officials from across the state to draw attention to the problem and identify solutions. Reversing the lethal superbug’s spread will be the focus of the summit next month.
Nevada hospitals rarely sanction physicians
Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Nevada may have more surgical mishaps than should be expected, based on national benchmarks, but it’s almost unheard of for hospitals to sanction a physician. Doctors’ privileges were revoked or suspended 73 times in Nevada from January 2007 to July 1.
Colorado transparency unique
Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Michael Skolnik was having seizures. His doctor was pressing for brain surgery.
Patients at risk under the knife
Surgical injuries occur at higher rates than expected in area hospitals. Some blame Las Vegas’ culture of mediocrity
Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Dr. Victor Grigoriev had good news for Georganne Mumm’s worried family when he emerged from the operating room. The surgery was a success, Mumm says he told her family. He had removed her cancerous kidney and her outlook was good.
A cry for help
Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Among Carol Ann Doyle’s last words was an anguished cry that “something was backwards” inside her. Dr. Gregg Ripplinger had warned Doyle that she would be in some pain after laparoscopic surgery to remove her gall bladder.
Routine surgery, harrowing result
Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Amanda Cicatello appears in some ways to be a typical teenager. Her bedroom is whimsically decorated with a zebra-striped bedspread and a stuffed panda. She works at a trendy clothing store and loves to hang out with friends.
How the Sun identified surgical injuries
Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010
Every surgery results in an operative report, in which the surgeon notes each step of the procedure, including any inadvertent nicks, cuts or complications.
St. Rose breaks ranks with disclosure on quality of care
Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010
The St. Rose Dominican Hospitals are winning plaudits for being the first hospitals in Nevada to provide to patients previously internal information about quality of care — including details about certain hospital-acquired infections and injuries.
Panel discusses how best to stem the spread of infection
Increased transparency cited as a good first step
Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010
A Sun investigation found that lethal “superbugs” are infecting thousands of patients in local hospitals. The analysis of hospital billing records identified 2,010 cases in 2008 and 2009 in which Las Vegas hospital patients were infected with MRSA or C. diff.
Why this Hatch green chile reminds me of my wife
Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010
Love at first sight, meet love at my bite.
Health board backs limits on disclosure of infections
Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010
The divide over whether the public should know the specific hospitals where patients are contracting lethal “superbugs” was clear at Friday’s meeting of the state Board of Health. There were those who champion transparency — believing that revealing where the problems are will force officials to address them. And there were those who oppose it.
'We’re the ones who are in there. Our lives are entrusted to them.'
Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010
State Sen. Shirley Breeden understands the patient suffering caused by hospital-acquired infections. While she was in Carson City last year championing a bill to require stricter reporting of such cases, her father was battling a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, infection he contracted in a Las Vegas hospital.
State to investigate hospital infection findings
Gap called ‘staggering’ between what Las Vegas hospitals report and what is shown on billing records sent to the state
Monday, Aug. 9, 2010
The Sun’s investigation into lethal bacteria in Las Vegas hospitals has identified more apparent underreporting by hospitals of the number of times patients are infected at the facilities.
VA system stanching MRSA
Testing, treatment regimen working, so why aren’t more using it?
Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010
The Veterans Affairs Department is determined to eliminate the spread of MRSA within its facilities, and has virtually eliminated the infections within some of its hospitals.
Hospital stay will stay with her always
Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010
Julie Rich lives tethered to an oxygen machine, the low hum and hiss constant companions, the vinyl tubing always underfoot. It is a reminder of the aggressive bacterial infection she contracted after an outpatient procedure at a local hospital.
Hospital’s sanitation promises quickly forgotten
State Health Board said no to fewer sinks, citing basic hygiene
Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010
In July 2008, MountainView Hospital executives learned their infection control practices were so bad the federal government was ready to send its Medicare patients - the bulk of the hospital’s business - elsewhere.
A hidden epidemic
Valley hospitals resist reporting the increasing numbers of patients who acquire bacteria infections despite proven prevention methods
Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010
Las Vegas hospital officials say they are doing enough to protect patients from becoming infected with deadly bacteria. But hospitals are failing.
Draft bills would require preventable injury reports by individual hospitals
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Lawmakers approved Tuesday drafting bills to require Nevada hospitals to report, by facility, the preventable infections and injuries patients suffer while in their care.
Iowa regulators also pushing for reporting of patient harm
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Nevada lawmakers aren’t alone in their efforts to increase hospitals’ transparency in reporting harm done to patients.
State presses hospitals for full accounting of preventable injuries
Health Division affirms Sun findings of discrepancy in how hospitals report preventable injuries
Friday, July 16, 2010
State officials released data on preventable injuries and infections in Nevada hospitals Thursday that mirror the findings of a Las Vegas Sun investigation.
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals to post data on quality
St. Rose takes lead in transparency; county facility says it will follow
Sunday, July 11, 2010
In response to a Las Vegas Sun investigation of hospital care, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals officials pledged to make public their internal quality measures — and challenged other local hospitals to do the same. The Sun investigation, based on hospital billing data on file with the state, identified 969 instances in 2008 and 2009 in which patients suffered preventable injuries, infections or other harm in Las Vegas hospitals.
Health care leaders discuss Sun report's findings
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Last Sunday the Las Vegas Sun reported that its analysis of area hospital records identified 969 cases of preventable infections, bone breaks, bed sores and other harm that were not present when the patient was admitted.
Hospital could face fine over terrorism drill gone awry
Investigation details traumatic events
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Nurses were caring for 26 patients in the intensive care unit at St. Rose Dominican Hospital — Siena Campus, when a man brandishing a handgun began herding nurses, doctors and other employees into a break room.
Accident took her life, his heart
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Donna Wendt died after her windpipe was torn open when a breathing tube was inserted. Now her companion of 28 years, Jack Rode, aches with loneliness and burns with anger toward the physician who allegedly inserted the tube.
Fall proves fatal for elderly patient
Sunday, June 27, 2010
A day before Morry Janovitz was scheduled to be discharged from Spring Valley Hospital, he was found on the floor of his hospital room – his forehead gashed, his neck broken.
Scarred for life by mistake in surgery
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Rosie Powell's surgeon thought there was a cancerous mass in her abdomen, so the doctor cut it out. It turned out to be her kidney.