Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital cited for safety issues after death of restrained patient

The Pennsylvania Department of Health cited Geisinger Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill after conducting an investigation into the Sept. 26 death of a patient placed in restraints, according to a Penn Live report published Thursday.

The health department conducted an unannounced investigation at the facility from Oct. 12-13. According to the investigators' findings, the patient was placed in restraints after becoming belligerent and trying to push past hospital staff to leave the facility. Two security guards held the patient down while a physician and a nurse applied the restraints. The patient eventually turned blue and appeared to foam at the mouth. Hospital staff initiated a code blue, which typically signals cardiac arrest. The patient died of a diffuse anoxic brain injury, according to the hospital.

The health department cited the hospital for failing "to protect the patient's safety during restraint application." The department also faulted the hospital for not reporting the incident to the state safety authority and not notifying the patient's family of the event.

Holy Spirit's initial plan of correction was rejected by the state, but a second plan was approved. The correction plan included changes to restraint procedures.

"Following the DOH investigation, the hospital reviewed and revised patient restraint policies and procedures, including restraint application, proper documentation and notification," said Lori Moran, director of corporate communications at Geisinger Holy Spirit, in a statement emailed to Becker's. "While we would prefer not to restrain patients, at times such measures are indicated for the safety of all involved. We are saddened whenever a patient passes away, and are confident that the care our team provided was consistent with Geisinger Holy Spirit's mission of delivering professional and compassionate care to all."

To read the state health department's report on the investigation, click here.

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