Author Archives: Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark

About Cheryl Clark

Cheryl Clark (@CherClarHealth) is AHCJ's core topic leader for patient safety, a MedPage Today contributor and inewsource.org investigative journalist. For most of 27 years, she covered medicine and science for the San Diego Union-Tribune. After taking a buyout in 2008, she became senior quality editor for HealthLeaders Media.

Problems found in initial federal data on COVID-19 in nursing homes

Photo: The National Guard via Flickr

When Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator, announced June 4 that she and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were unveiling COVID-19 data for all the nation’s nursing homes that get federal payment, I thought, “Wow!”

These days, how states are reporting their nursing home COVID cases is varied and random. So this new “unprecedented” federal dataset, “constitutes the backbone of a national COVID-19 virus surveillance system,” Verma said. Continue reading

Local officials on watch for unauthorized COVID-19 test sites

Cars lined up Wednesday afternoon at the COVID Clinic testing site near Cardiff-by-the-Sea, before it was shuttered by San Diego County health officials.

Photo: Cheryl ClarkCars lined up Wednesday afternoon at the COVID Clinic testing site before it was shuttered by San Diego County health officials.

Cities, counties and states around the country are probably on heightened alert for unauthorized pop-up COVID-19 testing operations after San Diego County took steps to shut down one such clinic Wednesday, lest a bogus test give someone a false result and jeopardize public health.

For $75, COVID Clinic invited applicants to sign up for COVID-19 IgM and IgG serology antibody, or “finger poke” tests, with partial results in 15 minutes. Continue reading

Looking at the evidence on homemade face masks to prevent coronavirus transmission

How to Wear a Cloth Face Covering

Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In my corner of Southern California, sewing equipment stores say they’re out of stock on machines priced under $500 because face mask entrepreneurs have gobbled them all up.

As of this weekend, none of the usual suppliers, including Amazon, would ship the quarter-inch elastic, the kind that secures a mask around the ears, at least until late May. Fabric stores are filling online orders with more than a week or two delay in shipping.

Continue reading

Lessons learned while tracking an anesthesiologist’s drug abuse and diversion case

Bradley Glenn Hay gave a deposition in November 2019.

Photo: Still from deposition video provided by plaintiff’s attorney Eugene Iredale.Bradley Glenn Hay gave a deposition in November 2019.

This is any hospital’s or medical group practice’s — and thus any affected patient’s — worst nightmare.  A long-time trusted and well-liked doctor at a large academic medical center in Southern California had been stealing sedatives from his health care system and from patients for years, injecting them into himself, and was doing it off and on, largely undetected, for 14 years.

The story of Bradley Glenn Hay, who surrendered his license to practice to the Medical Board of California in 2018, is almost unbelievable.  Continue reading

Expert and author traces history of patient safety movement, suggests stories

Yes, there’s a lot going on these days.

Impeachment.

Potential war.

The 2020 election.

(Forget for a minute the cynic’s view that all three things might actually be the same.)

We’re forgetting or perhaps just distracted from drawing our readers’ attention to a preventable problem that kills some 200,000 people a year. Continue reading

Investigation reveals failings in adoption of electronic health records

Over the past decade, federal spending of $36 billion to stimulate health providers’ conversion of patient medical records from piles of paper to electronic format was supposed to make care safer and lives easier. It would illuminate epidemiological trends that could stop spread of disease or point to a preventable culprit.

It might even make diagnosis of patient symptoms faster and more accurate. And patients would have easier access to their medical records.

To make sure it did all that, stakeholders were supposed to build a national databank and safety center that would track near misses, injuries and deaths caused by glitches in the system — for example medication or patient record errors — many of which have driven doctors and health systems nearly crazy over the years.

Continue reading