Chicago safety net hospital under scrutiny for neglect, deaths

Chicago-based Roseland Community Hospital is under scrutiny after multiple federal inspection reports, medical malpractice lawsuits and a whistleblower complaint to the state highlighted neglect and errors resulting in patient deaths, ProPublica reported Oct. 12.

Since January 2020, errors or neglect have contributed to the death of 13 patients, according to ProPublica. Four of the deaths have resulted in lawsuits, and two were reported in a whistleblower complaint filed by a former Roseland physician, an investigation by ProPublica and PBS affiliate WTTW News found.

Federal regulators have cited Roseland at least 72 times since Jan. 1, 2017, and issued eight immediate jeopardy citations, ProPublica reported. Immediate jeopardy citations flag problems that, if left uncorrected, put a patient at risk of harm or death.

Roseland has been cited more than any other Illinois hospital monitored by CMS, according to ProPublica. The safety net hospital has been at risk of shutting down, but leaders at the nonprofit facility defend it.

Timony Egan, Roseland's president and CEO, declined an interview. Spokesperson Dennis Culloton and hospital's new chief quality officer, Sharon DeVita, emphasized that since 2021 Roseland has examined and enhanced safety practices across the facility. They have addressed the specific deficiencies cited by regulators, they told ProPublica.

A spokesperson for the state public health department confirmed corrective action was taken in the wake of the 2021 immediate jeopardy warnings and was "sufficient." Roseland now is in good standing with the state.

But some are concerned the problems will continue.

"Not sure there's anyone looking at these hospitals holistically," Lisa McGiffert, a co-founder of the Patient Safety Action Network, said of hospitals in general. "[Regulators] will say, 'We found infection control breaches in a particular room. … You have to clean up the sinks.' But if there's a more systemic problem, just cleaning up the sink isn't going to fix the issue."

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