M.D. Anderson Federal Investigation Raises Hospital Safety Concerns

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston’s sprawling Medical Center has earned a worldwide reputation as a superb cancer treatment center over several decades. Yet, a recent joint inspection of that facility by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services discovered some truly disheartening patient care deficiencies including preventable patient deaths, multiple instances of over-anesthetizing, including small children on multiple occasions without proper consent, deficient employee training, poor record-keeping, unsanitary conditions, poor infection control, malfunctioning medical equipment, improperly cleaned radiation shields for patients, and failures to clean up spilled chemotherapy drugs.

Notably, M.D. Anderson responded to the concern-filled 268 page deficiency report by emphasizing its long history as a leading cancer center, but it did not directly contest a single one of the report’s deficiency allegations. Local observers note that the hospital has in many instances exchanged experienced nursing staff with younger, less experienced ones, possibly for economic reasons, and that the drive for profits may be overriding proper concern for patient safety. At this point, no official actions have been taken against the hospital and the report is just part of a long, on-going administrative oversight process which is far from complete. Still, this is not the sort of news one wants to hear from a venerable and prestigious institution of this sort.

Because of the power of the wealthy Texas medical lobby, Texas law has evolved over the last several years to make it a complicated and expensive undertaking to hold a physician or other medical care provider properly accountable for medical negligence. Yet, reports like this emphasize the need to try hard to hold medical care providers to the high standard necessary to ensure patients receive top quality care consistent with the astronomical price in this country’s present costly medical environment, where immense profits often override all other considerations.

If you or a loved one is ever injured as a result of what you believe to be medical negligence, please consider calling us. We have dealt with such cases for a very long time and we have the experience, expertise and resources to effectively evaluate your situation and to advise you of your rights and the legal remedies available.