Sewage leak threatened patients at Venice Regional Bayfront

A report from the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration revealed Venice (Fla.) Regional Bayfront Health failed to keep patients safe while responding to a large sewage leak at the hospital, according to the Herald-Tribune.

The sewage leak occurred in the post-surgical orthopedic wing on Venice Regional's second floor and was followed by an initial report on June 30. Investigators published a follow-up report July 2. The date of the actual leak was excluded from both of the reports.

Ultimately, the Florida AHCA report cited a total of 13 violations of state and federal law in the hospital's handling of a sewage leak, including failure to ensure that the sewage was cleaned up properly and failing to conduct an infection control risk assessment.

Investigators reported finding live rats above the affected ceiling tiles, air conditioning supply vents over food prep tables leaking condensation, and traces of the bacteria coliform and enterococcus in the floorboards and subfloor area.

Venice Regional spokesman Bob Hite released a statement, saying the hospital responded quickly to the leak by having a plumber immediately recap the line and by contracting a remediation company to clean and dehumidify the affected area over five days.

AHCA investigators, however, deemed the hospital's efforts insufficient.

Mr. Hite told the Herald-Tribune that Venice Regional has been working to remediate the sewage line break and respond to the violations found by AHCA investigators for more than a month.

For instance, the hospital:

  • Closed the second floor patient care area for cleaning and repair of ceiling and flooring materials
  • Created a plan for a waterproof barrier to seal all vent and sewage raceways and replace any compromised infrastructure; and
  • Contracted with a national environmental engineering firm to prepare a facility improvement plan and assess any additional prevention measures that could have been taken

According to Mr. Hite, the hospital takes very seriously the responsibility of providing a safe environment of care.

"Providing quality medical care in a safe environment is our top priority," Mr. Hite told the Herald-Tribune. "We regret we were not able to proactively address these issues, but continue to aggressively remedy them and are committed to preventing any similar issue in the future."



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