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Recent federal investigation uncovers “numerous” patient safety issues at Swedish Cherry Hill

Posted Monday, September 11, 2017 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

In response to the Seattle Times articles in February examining Swedish’s neurosurgical department, the state Department of Health began investigating themselves. The DOH recently released its report, finding a number of problem areas that must be solved if Swedish is to remain Medicare eligible.

Such concerns included Swedish’s failure to properly define the role and scope of work performed by medical fellows, failure to address behavioral issues, failure to document which surgical tasks were done by fellows instead of the attending physician, failure to track when the attending was in the operating room, and failure to listen to staff concerns about patient safety within the neurosurgical department.

Other allegations were not substantiated by the DOH investigation. In particular, the investigation did not find that primary surgeons were unavailable for critical portions of surgeries, and that nursing staffing levels were unsafe.

To Swedish’s credit, many of these issues have been addressed prior to this report being released. In particular, Swedish began new policies of largely banning the practice of overlapping surgeries, and monitoring when surgeons were in the operating room.

Mike Baker at the Times has done a phenomenal job, increasing patient safety for everyone in the state. As a result of his investigative work surrounding Swedish, he received the WSAJ Excellent in Journalism Award for 2017.

You can read more about the DOH report here:

Investigators find ‘numerous’ issues related to patient safety at Swedish’s Cherry Hill site

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