Hospital faces 100+ lawsuits; NYC plagued with poor patient safety

Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., is facing a plethora of more than 100 open lawsuits for what patients and their relatives say is sloppy care, New York Daily News reported.

Called an "alarming" number of suits, state Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-East Flatbush) said it's "a very strong indication that something is definitely wrong with how the hospital is run."

A dozen of the claims allege that patients died because of malpractice and negligence at the financially struggling hospital. For example, Thomas Stephens claims his grandmother, Nora Stephens, got a blood infection and gangrene on her feet from pressure ulcers, according to another New York Daily News article. Stephens pointed to the alleged poor treatment and neglect by Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center personnel in the Brooklyn Supreme Court suit.

"We are confident in the quality of care provided to the residents of Brooklyn, by our dedicated clinical and support staff," hospital spokesman Ole Pedersen said.

However, state Assemblyman Karim Camara (D-East Flatbush) noted the amount of lawsuits is "further evidence there needs to be a change at the highest levels of management."

In 2010, the hospital suffered $42 million in operating losses. In September 2011, its CEO of parent company MediSys Health Network, David Rosen, was convicted for bribing New York officials.

Even though the load of cases is "egregious," as Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School, called it, there could be hundreds of other affected patients that don't sue, she explained.

A recent Consumer Reports analysis found that New York City hospitals performed poorly in patient safety ratings compared to the rest of the nation. Researchers looked at hospital-acquired infections, readmission rates, patient communication about new medications and discharge planning, examining the 1,045 hospitals in the country with data on each of our four safety measures. Of the 50 lowest-scoring hospitals in the nation, 30 are in the New York City area alone.

"New Yorkers often assume that they have access to some of the best health care in the world," said John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. "And in some ways they do, with many leading physicians and state-of-the-art facilities in the area. But our analysis suggests that, when it comes to patient safety, New Yorkers often receive sub-standard care."

For more information:
- read the NY Daily News article on the lawsuits and the article on the patient
- here's the Consumer Reports summary

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