West Houston Medical Center hospital medical malpractice attorney/lawyer

 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have cited West Houston Medical Center with 11 violations since March 23, 2012

 
September 14, 2017

As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I have represented clients in investigating and filing lawsuits related to healthcare that they received at West Houston Medical Center.

About the hospital

West Houston Medical Center is located at 12 141 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX 77082. According to the March 29, 2017 report from the Texas Department of State Health Services, the hospital is owned by CHCA West Houston LP, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee. It is part of the HCA Healthcare mega-chain of hospitals.

West Houston Medical Center is a 276-bed hospital, with 400 physicians on its medical staff. It offers a number of services, including asthma treatment, bariatric/weight-loss surgery, behavioral health, breast center, cancer treatment, cardiovascular center, diabetes management, diagnostic imaging, ear, nose, and throat (ENT), emergency room, gastroenterology, general surgery, internal medicine, neurology, nutrition, outpatient services, orthopedics, rehabilitation, Senior care, sleep disorder center, women services, and wound care center.

Quality of care concerns at West Houston Medical Center

Although the Texas state government is rather lax in its regulatory oversight of hospitals, the federal government regularly sends surveyors from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to inspect hospitals.

Since March 23, 2012, West Houston Medical Center has been cited by Medicare and Medicaid with 11 violations.

On November 10, 2016, the hospital was cited for violating patient rights by failing to respond to a family member who complained that the hospital died because of poor quality of care during his hospital admission. As a former hospital administrator, it always concerns me when I learn that facility administrators do not take the opportunity to investigate and learn from potential mistakes, which is a key way that patient safety can be improved. In the healthcare industry, this is referred to continuous quality improvement, and should be a goal for every hospital.

On August 7, 2015, the Medicare/Medicaid surveyor cited West Houston Medical Center for a violation related to the infection control officer not meeting standards. The surveyor found that the hospital failed to implement an effective system to control the transmission of infections and communicable diseases. Based on the surveyor’s review, a registered nurse failed to utilize appropriate hand hygiene before inserting an intravenous (IV) on to patients. Surveyor also noted that two registered nurses were not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment when providing direct care to a patient on contact isolation precautions. The surveyor also found that operating room (OR) surfaces and equipment at the hospital were not maintained in a manner to allow appropriate cleaning and disinfecting.

 

In my experience as a medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled many cases where hospital-acquired infections were at issue. I am currently handling the case against a different facility where a bariatric surgery patient contracted a rare mycobacterial infection, which our medical expert believes occurred because certain surgical equipment was not properly cleaned and sanitized. It is important for hospital administrators to ensure that facility infection control practices are well-defined and that staff are trained and supervised to follow them.

On September 12, 2014, West Houston Medical Center was cited for violation of patient rights. The surveyor reviewed the records involving five discharged emergency room patients, and found that the facility failed to ensure the protection of the rights of two of those patients.

On July 18, 2014, the hospital was once again cited for a violation of patient rights concerning notice of a grievance decision. Once again, the surveyor found that a complaint went unanswered by the hospital administration. The main issue involved a physician’s decision to change a patient’s preferred and documented do-not-resuscitate (DNR) status, without the patient’s permission.

Sadly, Texas law does little to protect patient rights when it comes to DNR status. In Texas, a doctor can ignore the wishes of the patient and family and enter a DNR order, or an order to provide full resuscitative efforts, without telling them. I recommend that hospitalized patients regularly check with their doctors and nurses concerning their DNR status. In my experience, if a patient or family member finds out that the DNR status is incorrectly notated in the medical records, and then raises the issue, doctors and nurses often back down and comply with the patient or family wishes.

On May 28, 2014, the Medicare/Medicaid surveyor cited West Houston Medical Center with four violations. The first violation was critical of the hospital’s governing body, for failing to effectively monitor contracted dialysis services to ensure that medical devices used to dialyzed patients were safe for use. The second violation dealt with the same issue, and concerned contracted services. I have seen these types of violations at facilities all over Houston. Many such facilities use independent contractors to provide dialysis services to their patients. Unfortunately, some facilities do not supervise the dialysis contractors.

In these particular violations, the surveyor found that the West Houston Medical Center failed to ensure that dialyzers on an Urgent Medical Device Recall list were not used on patients, and failed to remove recalled dialyzers and outdated blood collection tubes. The surveyor felt that this failed practice at the hospital has the potential for harming patients on the acute dialysis unit.

On the same date, the surveyor issued another concerning violation to the hospital, finding that West Houston Medical Center’s quality assurance performance improvement program failed to have systems in place to prevent medical errors and maintain patient safety.

The final violation on the state also dealt with patient safety. The surveyor found that the hospital’s quality assurance performance improvement program should have had systems in place to ensure awareness and compliance with all recall notices on equipment and supplies purchased by contracted services in the hospital.

On March 23, 2012, the hospital received one violation report. On this instance, the surveyor found that the hospital violated patient rights to be free from abuse and harassment. The surveyor noted that a hospital social worker receive knowledge of potential abuse of a discharged patient by a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who was currently employed by the hospital. The hospital administration failed to investigate this allegation.

We are here to help

The medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas regularly meet with patients and their families who want to sue hospitals, like West Houston Medical Center. Our team has experience in investigating claims of negligence and filing and pursuing lawsuits, when the evidence supports it.

If you or someone you care for has been seriously injured as a result of medical errors or malpractice at West Houston Medical Center, call us at 281-580-8800, for a free consultation evaluation of your potential case.

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Robert Painter is an attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston Texas. He files medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of patients and their families, against doctors, surgeons, pharmacists, and hospitals, like West Houston Medical Center.

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.

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