OSHA investigates Minnesota hospital's ED in wake of patient sexual assault

The Minnesota Office of Safety and Health Administration has initiated a review of emergency department operations at the University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview in Minneapolis where a mentally disabled adolescent girl was sexually assaulted, according to a report from KSTP.

 

While an OSHA spokesperson confirmed to KSTP there is an ongoing investigation into possible safety issues in the ED at University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview, the individual did not say what precisely triggered the investigation.

OSHA typically investigates hospitals if it receives complaints expressing fear among staff and patients regarding the possible threat of workplace violence, according to KTSP. The hospital is also being investigated by the Minnesota Department of Health regarding security issues in the mental health unit, according to the report.

"Regulatory agency visits are part of the routine and important work all health systems do," wrote Fairview spokesperson Camie Melton Hanily in a statement provided to Becker's Hospital Review. "We are committed to working with patients and regulatory agencies regarding any questions they may have as quality and patient safety are of utmost importance."

The hospital is currently facing a lawsuit filed by the parents of the adolescent girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted twice while in the ED. The teenage patient was fondled by another mentally ill patient, Jamal Strong, and the assault was captured on camera. While hospital staff entered the room and removed Mr. Strong, the lawsuit alleges the attacker returned to the room on a second occasion and again assaulted the girl.

Mr. Strong has since pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault, though he has yet to be sentenced due to concerns regarding his own mental health.

In the wake of the incident, University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview has increased patient monitoring in the ED and enhanced video monitoring, among other changes, per a statement provided to Becker's last week.

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