General hospitals or higher level medical institutions have provoked most dispute related to pneumonia, many of which occurred because patients contracted it while treating other diseases.
According to the third issue of the bulletin on preventing medical accidents, released by Korea Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency한국의료분쟁조정중재원, medical disputes related to pneumonia from the agency’s opening to the first half of this year occurred mostly by people aged 50 or older (66 cases, 80 percent), and at general hospitals or higher level institutions (54 cases, 66 percent).
The pneumonia-related disputes broke down to the “occurrence of pneumonia while treating other diseases” (39 cases, 47.6 percent), “symptoms getting worse during pneumonia treatment” (12 cases, 14.6 percent), and “contracting other diseases while treating pneumonia” (nine cases, 11.0 percent)’.
There were 57 deaths (69.5 percent) after treatments, 38 of which, or 76 percent, occurred because patients contracted pneumonia while treating other diseases
Among the total, doctors were proved culpable in 40 cases (48.8 percent), and inculpable in the other 40. In 24 cases (29.2 percent), even causality was acknowledged.
The report divided the pneumonia-related cases into those acquired in local communities and those contracted in hospitals, to include major bones of contention, medical judgment, and implications for their prevention.
The report said that it is important to find the virus in the pneumonia cases acquired in local communities, advising hospitals to pay additional attention to elderly patients who can show acute respiratory symptoms in barely recognizable ways.
Regarding hospital-contracted pneumonia cases, the report said prolonged hospitalization could increase the possibility of occurrence. Doctors have to begin making efforts to diagnose pneumonia if they show signs such as fever, difficulty with breathing, coughing, and hypoxia, even though they show no other symptoms.
To prevent pneumonia, experts recommended medical workers to raise patients’ beds by 30 percent, wash hands and check cough reflex and swallowing before taking food. Especially it advised doctors to make people over 65 to get the pneumonia vaccination.
“I hope the report released in time for the increase in the prevalence and mortality rates of pneumonia caused by population aging will help people to prevent medical incidents,” said Park Kuk-soo박국수, head of the agency. “We will make efforts to publish various preventive materials that have information about diseases and medical accidents.”