hospitals

Every year some 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and 23,000 of them die from these superbugs.

Superbugs are mostly a hospital problem: They're where these pathogens are often born and spread, and where the infected come for help. But hospitals are not where the majority of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used.

Washington state law requires hospitals to screen patients for financial need before demanding payment. But that doesn’t always happen. Now courts are paying attention.

A ruling against Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center highlights the problem.

Thursday's announcement by Kaiser Permanente that it plans to open its own medical school in Southern California in 2019 has attracted a lot of attention in the health care community.

The nonprofit, national provider of managed health care says it plans to train students in its own style of integrated diagnosis and treatment — focusing on research, the use of new technologies, and teaching doctors to work as part of a collaborative caregiving team.

The federal government is penalizing 758 hospitals with higher rates of patient safety incidents, and more than half of those places had also been fined last year, Medicare records released late Wednesday show.

Harborview Hospital, Seattle, 2002
Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives (CC BY 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Ky8e6j

A new federal grant gives Harborview Medical Center a boost in combating gun violence. The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday awarded about $500,000 to organizations in Seattle, including Harborview.

The hospital wants to talk with gunshot victims about the reasons they ended up in the hospital -- sometimes due to gang activity or crime. 

Until recently, nurses at Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Hospital had to maneuver through a maze of wheelchairs, beds, boxes and lights to find surgical supplies in the equipment closet for the operating rooms.

But as public hospitals like Harbor-UCLA try to cut costs and make patients happier, administrators have turned to an unlikely ally: Toyota.

Ross Reynolds talks with Carol Wagner, senior vice president for patient safety at the Washington State Hospital Association, about some of the infections patients contract at hospitals. 

The ACLU of Washington has filed a lawsuit against Skagit Regional Health. It claims the public hospital’s policies create illegal barriers to abortion. Hospitals say they are required to offer abortions, but can’t make employees perform them.    

Checking into a hospital can boost your chances of infection. That's a disturbing paradox of modern medical care.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If today is a typical day in the United States, about 200 hospital patients will die with an infection they picked up while they were in the hospital.

Only one patient in the United States has ever died of Ebola, and many deadly diseases spread much more easily than Ebola.

Three times in one week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo returned to the emergency room of the Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Southern California, seeking relief from intense back pain. Each time, Granillo waited a little while and then left the ER without ever being seen by a doctor.

"I was in so much pain, I wanted to be taken care of 'now,' " says Granillo. "I didn't want to sit and wait."

The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled it’s illegal for the state to “board” mental health patients in emergency rooms and regular hospital beds.

A national hospital chain says it suspects Chinese hackers breached its computer system earlier this year. Patients whose doctors work with any of five hospitals in the Northwest might have had financial data stolen.

The state of Washington is scrambling to find beds for an estimated 200 mental health patients by August 27. That's when the state must comply with a Washington Supreme Court ruling that said detaining psychiatric patients in emergency room beds is unlawful.

Marcie Sillman talks with freelance journalist Lisa Stiffler about infection rates and patient safety in Washington hospitals.

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