Verbal abuse, decrepit facilities and safety issues found at Rhode Island hospital that may lose accreditation

After The Joint Commission issued a preliminary denial of accreditation for Cranston, R.I.-based Eleanor Slater Hospital, Gov. Dan McKee released a list of health and safety issues at the hospital, reports WPRI.

The commission's preliminary decision, effective June 17, followed an unannounced review of the state-run hospital, which has faced intensifying public scrutiny in recent days.

The hospital conditions pose a "serious threat to public or patient health and safety," Mark Pelletier, RN, COO of The Joint Commission, wrote in a letter sent to state officials June 18, as cited by WPRI.

The report detailed five major issues, including a lack of maintenance resulting in a "dangerous environment," a pattern of not responding to a long-standing medical-gas issue and an overall failure to foster a culture of safety. Agency officials wrote that, "Care, treatment and/or services were provided in a manner and in an environment that posed risk of an 'immediate threat to health,' or 'immediate threat to life.'"

The Joint Commission detailed "a decrepit building with peeling paint, many fallen and broken ceiling tiles, rust in the bath and showers, broken call cords, doors that don't close, medication room equipment trays mislabeled and cracked and defective flooring, unkept grounds and dangerous trip and fall hazards at the entries," according to WPRI.

The Joint Commission also reviewed an incident from May 2019 when a patient complained and a nurse became "aggressively defensive." The exchange escalated, and the report alleges that the nurse said the patient should "go shoot yourself." After the nurse was fired, a union filed a wrongful termination suit and an arbitrator ruled "the termination was without cause." The nurse is currently employed at Eleanor Slater, according to the report.

The state has 23 days from June 18 to resolve the issues if it wants to save its accreditation. Mr. McKee said his administration is working to improve operations.

"I am deeply disturbed and frankly disgusted with the findings of the Joint Commission's preliminary report," Mr. McKee said in a statement cited by WPRI. "The report is preliminary and highlights issues that have not been adequately addressed over many years. My team is doing everything possible to address these deficiencies so that the Joint Commission's final report will make the recommendation to maintain our accreditation." 

Becker's has reached out and will update this article as more information becomes available. 

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