5 hospitals in the spotlight for medical errors — and how they're fixing them

A number of hospitals are working to improve patient safety and curb medical errors after recent reports found lapses in patient care.

Since May, Becker's has tracked five hospitals in the news for medical errors, safety issues and patient deaths. Here are the five hospitals and how they're responding to the patient errors:

1. Patient deaths, liver transplant failures spiked over 2 years at UC San Diego 
An oversight report revealed the liver transplant program at UC San Diego Health Jacobs Medical Center showed more patient deaths and transplant failures than expected — but administrators say the spike is temporary.

University administrators said the program's graft failure and death rates have been lowered since 2016. The university and Dr. Hemming said the program is completing more quality reviews of "all graft losses and deaths within one year of transplant" and has identified and implemented improvements.

2. Kent Hospital to invest $1.7M in training after 4 patient errors in 6 months
Warwick, R.I.-based Kent Hospital entered a consent agreement with the state health department to spend at least $1.7 million on a 100-day "turnaround plan" to improve patient safety and care quality. The agreement, signed June 22, comes after four separate surgical and procedural errors at Kent Hospital between December 2017 and May 2018.

3. Rhode Island Hospital to invest $1M in training after 4 patient errors in 4 weeks
The Rhode Island Department of Health and Providence-based Rhode Island Hospital signed an agreement June 4 after four separate patient errors in four weeks (in February and March 2018). In place of regulatory action for the errors, Rhode Island Hospital will invest at least $1 million in various patient safety improvement efforts outlined in the consent agreement.

4. Houston hospital suspends heart transplants after recent deaths: 7 things to know
Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center in Houston put its heart transplant program on a 14-day inactive status June 1 after seeing an unusually high death rate among patients within a year of receiving a heart transplant.

The heart transplant program resumed June 15 after the hospital conducted a two-week quality review. After the review, hospital officials expanded the role of Gabriel Loor, MD, the co-chief of adult cardiac surgery, refined criteria for the patient selection process and reorganized its approach to patient care. A transplant committee will continue to review the program and recommend necessary changes.

5. Inspection report faults Boston Children's for medication errors linked to patient death
In 2017, three patients suffered from medication errors at Boston Children's Hospital, including one patient who waited 14 hours for an antibiotic and later died. The patient who waited for the antibiotic developed sepsis before dying two days later.

After these incidents, this spring, the hospital implemented improvements for treating sepsis patients quickly and for administering the anesthetic Propofol accurately, avoiding CMS discipline.

In a 63-page improvement plan, Boston Children's said it recognized "the need to focus additional attention in our responses to specific events," including "the potential of a similar event occurring in another area."

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