Physician links transparency with patient safety, but overlooks adverse events at own hospital

Jeffery Tokar, MD, director of gastrointestinal endoscopy at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, co-authored an article that appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine last year, detailing how to lower risk of infection from medical scopes. The article discusses being transparent with patients, but it seems Dr. Tokar didn't follow through on his own recommendations, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report.

Dr. Tokar did not mention that at his facility a contaminated scope manufactured by Fujifilm, for whom Dr. Tokar is a paid consultant, may have infected three patients with drug-resistant bacteria, according to the Inquirer.

This information surfaced for the first time last month when a Senate committee released the results of an investigation into scope-related infections that afflicted close to 200 patients nationwide from 2012 to 2015, including the possible cases at Fox Chase.

While Fox Chase adhered to federal rules and notified Fujifilm of the suspected contamination and infections, the institute and their GI endoscopy director made no public statement. Information surrounding the circumstances of the infected patients is murky. It's unclear if the patients were informed that the contaminated scope might have been the impetus for their antibiotic-resistant infections.

Michael Kochman, MD, gastroenterologist with the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, and co-author with Dr. Tokar said he personally was unaware of the Fox Chase incidents while collaborating with Dr. Tokar. Dr. Kochman claimed he would have published some of the details if he had known about Fox Chase's potential infections. "I can't directly fault my coauthor. I don't know what Dr. Tokar knew when...I would hope we would be able to add a personal experience comment within the paper if any of us had known we had dealt with the issue," Dr. Kochman told the Inquirer.

More articles on patient safety: 
As new models of integrated care continue to surface, protecting patients’ medical records is crucial  
Using a multi-pronged approach to fix hospital culture and improve patient safety  
8 US hand hygiene compliance companies form alliance 

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