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Do Smaller Military Medical Facilities Put Patients at a Higher Risk?

January 31, 2015

Some of the leading patient safety experts in the U.S. think so, and they are now urging Pentagon officials to move forward with their plans to scale back the system by converting some of these riskier, smaller clinics into outpatient clinics or birthing centers.

In fact, as Dr. Lucian L. Leape at the Harvard School of Public Health has stated, “I think [these smaller military facilities] should be outlawed.”

The Alleged Problems with Smaller Military Medical Facilities

Some leading patient safety experts are urging Pentagon officials to convert smaller military medical facilities into outpatient clinics. Here’s why.

Some leading patient safety experts are urging Pentagon officials to convert smaller military medical facilities into outpatient clinics. Here’s why.

The reason for such a strong push to convert small, inpatient military medical facilities in the U.S. to outpatient facilities primarily lies in the fact that these smaller facilities present excessive and unnecessary risks to patients. In fact, as researchers have found:

  • 2 out of every 3 smaller military medical facilities (or at least 26 clinics in the U.S.) served 30 or less patients each day in 2013. This is less than one-third of the number of patients that inpatient civilian clinics of a similar size saw on a daily basis that same year.
  • At these smaller military medical facilities, military priorities often undercut the daily delivery of care to patients.
  • Doctors’ and nurses’ inexperience is a particular problem, as more experienced health care professionals are encouraged to take administrative positions and/or are sent abroad.
  • The quality of care is compromised by the inherent lack of continuity built into the system, as doctors and patients are regularly rotated from post to post.

Supporting these findings were data from the National Perinatal Information Center, which highlighted that, when it came to the following issues, smaller military medical facilities had a record of consistently performing worse than their civilian counterparts:

  • Infants sustaining physical trauma during birth – Smaller military medical facilities had rates that were 95 percent higher for this than their civilian counterparts.
  • Postpartum bleeding – The rate of postpartum bleeding at smaller military medical facilities was 43 percent higher than that associated with small civilian inpatient clinics.

A former deputy commander for clinical operations at Reynolds Army Community Hospital at Fort Sill (in Oklahoma) summed up the issue very succinctly, stating, “it’s a dangerous game… it is crazy that the military doesn’t say, hey, we are really good at outpatient medicine and this inpatient thing is out of our league.”

Military Medical Malpractice Lawyers

The military medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Firm of Ryan & Brown have the skill and expertise to get you the justice you deserve. Although no amount of money can ever make up for an injury or wrongful death caused by medical malpractice, the compensation we could help you recover will go a long way in covering medical costs and the pain and suffering you have endured. To encourage injured parties to learn more about their legal rights, our law firm provides free initial consultations, consideration even if another law firm has turned you down and availability 24 hours a day seven days a week.

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