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ECRI lists top hazards stemming from health technology

The ECRI Institute has released its 2019 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards report. Addressing many of the hazards pointed out in the report will be of the highest priority to hospitals and medical centers in New York as it will help reduce the risk for patient injuries and deaths.

Topping the list are cybersecurity attacks where hackers target remote access to healthcare systems. These can render systems inoperative and expose or compromise the patient data that they hold, resulting in possible delays in the delivery of patient care.

Patient infection is a risk that several of the reported hazards come with. For instance, improperly cleaned and disinfected mattresses and mattress covers can retain blood and other body fluids. Flexible endoscopes, if improperly handled and stored, can recontaminate other scopes. Surgical teams, though they manually count their sponges, may leave one in by mistake in a patient's body.

Alarms present two hazards. Those on ventilators can fail to prevent complications arising from loose connections, manufacturing defects and other issues, leading to hypoxic brain injury or death. Doctors could also miss the alarms on physiologic monitoring system. Also on ECRI's list are hazards arising from the cleaning of equipment with sprays and wipes: The water could enter electrical components and cause malfunctions and even fires.

Those who believe they were injured because a doctor failed to live up to the objective standard of care may want to see a lawyer to determine if they have good grounds for a medical malpractice claim. The lawyer might request an inquiry with the local medical board and have third parties conduct their own investigation. Medical experts may be able to determine the extent of the injuries so that victims can strive for a reasonable settlement. The lawyer may handle all negotiations.

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