Tuesday, 20 of November of 2018

Sentara Mergers Raise Concerns for Patient Safety

Medical mistakes, misdiagnoses, surgical errors and patient neglect can increase when hospital staff are compelled to care more about their facility's bottom line than about caring for patients.

By Jim Lewis, Virginia Medical Malpractice Lawyer

When you hear the word “merger,” you probably, like I do, also hear words like “layoffs,” cost-cutting” and “new management.” Those last three words in hospitals can mean fewer doctors, nurses and other health care staff. They can also mean putting pressure on every employee of one or both merged hospitals to do more with less — less time with patients, less time- and equipment-intensive surgical procedure, less attention to monitoring bed-bound patients or maintaining antiseptic conditions to prevent hospital-acquired bedsores and infections … .

In short, medical mistakes, misdiagnoses, surgical errors and patient neglect can increase when hospital staff are compelled to care more about their facility’s bottom line than about caring for patients.

Sentara, based in Norfolk, Virginia (VA), will soon have nine other hospitals within its system throughout Virginia and North Carolina (NC). Just since 2009, Sentara has completed or announced mergers with private community facilities in Woodbridge, VA, Rockingham County, VA; and Charlottesville, VA.

That latest deal involves Martha Jefferson Hospital, and Sentara promised no layoffs when announcing the planned merger in late September 2010. The hospitals’ chief executives also assured that management would remain local and the decision to combine operations with Sentara represented the desire to provide improved care through the wider use of technologies such as electronic health records and broader access to medical specialists.

For the sake of Martha Jefferson patients, I hope they was correct. Health care providers — be they physicians, surgeons, nurses, technicians or pharmacists — can never find themselves in a situation of putting profits before patients.


About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose attorneys focus on injury and accident law, and we have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes, nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free, initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message and we will return your call promptly. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC).  Our lawyers hold licenses in NC, SC, WV, KY, FL and DC. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube . Furthermore, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard and Norfolk Injuryboard as pro bono public information services.

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