as reported in newspapers accross the United States on Sept. 10th, 1997
A patient died in an emergency room awaiting transfer to an ICU bed. Apparently the ICU was short staffed and she was being monitored in the ED until the staffing levels increased in the intensive care unit. The ermergency room was also short as one nurse called in ill
State investigators from the California State Department of Health issued a statement that indicated the death of a 45 year old female patient on May 10. The patient was one of three that reqiured specialized tretment and care that night and only two nurses were available in the ED. Three other nurses cared for 16 other patients throughout the weekend night.
Framiglio added, "if you don't have the staff to care for individuals, you shouldn't allow individuals to come there." "The usual practice is to close the ER to ambulance traffic when a hospital has more patients that it can handle: They did not do that on that night!"
Willaim L. Gillbert, chief executive officer of the medical center said the hospital has "brought all our corporate resources to bear to correct" the deficiencies, including increasing the staffing of critcal care units and adopting new policies to prevent this from happening again.
"We have serious concerns about these findings," said Carl Framiglio, the state Department of health Services district manager in San Jose. Also noted were at least 7 additional patients that were held in the emergency department in May due to lack of Intensive Care staff. In every one of these cases, nurses failed to administer doctors orders in a timely maner and failed to complete a thorough assessment when patients were admitted.
The medical centers parent company, Columbia/HCA Health Corp, the largest for profit health organization in the country, has been criticized nationally by doctors and consumers and health care advocates for cutting corners by down sizing, downstaffing and reorganizing to save money after they aquire not for profit community hospitals. Columbia bought San Jose Medical Center and three other local hospitals in the area in 1995. The number of registered nurses decreased by 33 at this hospital and by 44 at the other two.
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