6 hospitals in the spotlight for medical errors in 2019 — and how they're fixing them

Several hospitals are working to improve patient safety and curb medical errors after reports this year found lapses in patient care that ultimately led to patient deaths. 

Here are the six hospitals Becker's has tracked and how they're responding to the patient errors:

1. Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center (Houston). 

A CMS inspection published Feb. 26 revealed staff at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center made more than 100 mistakes in labeling blood over a four-month period, according to the Houston Chronicle. The inspection was prompted by the December 2018 death of a patient who had repeated heart attacks after receiving the wrong blood type.

The hospital released a detailed plan of correction Feb. 26, including revisions of relevant policies; review of documentation processes in affected areas of the hospital; implementation of an audit process; and educational sessions for physicians and staff.

2. Ben Taub Hospital (Houston). 

A second patient was found dead July 16 in a bathroom at Ben Taub Hospital after waiting for emergency care, three months after staff found a 66-year-old patient with no pulse in an ED bathroom, according to the Houston Chronicle. 

George Masi, president and CEO of Houston-based Harris Health System, which operates Ben Taub and Houston-based Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, told the Houston Chronicle that the hospital immediately implemented "additional risk reduction strategies" to ensure patient safety. 

3. MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston). 

A 23-year-old leukemia patient died two days after receiving a blood transfusion contaminated with bacteria at MD Anderson Cancer Center, according to a June 24 CMS report cited by the Houston Chronicle. The report followed the documentation of serious care deficiencies at the hospital.   

The hospital sent CMS a correction plan, implemented new safeguards for blood transfusions and developed ongoing education on blood administration procedures. 

4. WellSpan York (Pa.) Hospital.

A patient died at WellSpan YorkHospital's emergency department after being left unattended for more than an hour, according to a state inspection report cited by York Daily Record.

Following the incident, state inspectors deemed the facility out of compliance with Pennsylvania's Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act. The hospital reassigned nurses to ensure 24/7 coverage in triage areas and required nurses to reassess patients in the waiting area when length of stay exceeds one hour, Allan Birenberg, MD, vice president of medical affairs at WellSpan York Hospital, said in a statement cited by York Daily Record. 

5. Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital (Houston).

A patient at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital died after giving birth by cesarean section this September, according to a Nov. 8 CMS report cited by the Houston Chronicle. The report found the C-section patient died after her heart rate increased and never dropped. Physicians never consulted other medical staff about the increased heart rate, and there was no record of the patient's blood pressure or temperature being taken.

The health system submitted a full plan of correction to CMS Nov. 18. In a statement cited by the Houston Chronicle, Harris Health officials said they are confident that CMS' follow-up survey will find that the corrective actions remedy the deficiencies and meet all agency standards.  

6. Geisinger Medical Center (Danville, Pa.).

Geisinger Medical Center identified contaminated equipment as the source of Pseudomonas bacteria that killed three infants and sickened five others in its neonatal intensive care unit this fall, The Daily Item reported. 

After the Pennsylvania Department of Health cited the hospital for not having a written policy to clean equipment, Geisinger drafted a new policy. As a precaution, the hospital also transferred premature infants and women expected to give birth before 32 weeks to other hospitals. 

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