Hospital Records Falsified to Hide Mistakes

According to a recent study between 2004 and September 2008, New York issued 16 citations to hospitals for incomplete, altered or missing medical records. In a review of the documents, it was found that the records were altered or missing when a medical screw-up was involved. Workers at city-run hospitals faked records to cover up incidents or claimed that they couldn’t find the data when investigators asked.

One such incident occurred at New York Hospital. A young man showed up on September 8, 2005 and was diagnosed as suffering a “cardiac event.” An IV was placed by a fourth-year medical student but it was listed in the records that a medical doctor administered the IV since med students are allowed to. Over the next two days, the medical student and several nurses made entries into the record that the patient’s arm was fine, was “warm to the touch” and that there were “no signs of inflammation.” During this time however, his arm was covered from the knuckles to his elbows in a material called Kerlix. When the Kerlix was removed, patient’s arm was blistering and his left hand was “cool to touch and pulseless.” The patient ended up having his arm amputated at the elbow.

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