Something that continues to be a mainstay in our blogs is the viewpoint that health matters most. This perspective is widely shared by Americans who put their faith in the physicians and other practitioners who they go to for medical attention. Especially when an emergency situation arises, it is of vital importance that the hospitals providing the necessary care can be trusted. This is why accreditation is so important.
Essentially, accreditation represents a certification of competency, authority or credibility. It is an official verification that an institution or program meets all of the standards necessary to be considered reputable. Unfortunately, for Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, accreditation was recently denied for failing meet no less than 29 standards set out by the Joint Commission.
Last month, JoNel Aleccia of The Seattle Times reported that the non-profit group, that inspects 21,000 hospitals and programs throughout the United States, dropped into the Virginia Mason Medical Center for a surprise visit in May. Among the many standards that the hospital failed to meet is the fact that it is not known for conducting any fire drills. As well, it failed in the area of reducing the risk of infection from medical equipment and devices.
The hospital was also found to not provide an environment with no risk of “immediate threat to life”. Virginia Mason Medical Center also failed to meet Joint Commission standards when it came to providing adequate resuscitation services throughout the hospital, safely storing medications, having an infection prevention and control plan and establishing and maintaining a safe, functional environment.
Aleccia reports that the hospital has released a statement saying that it is working to fix the many problems found by the Joint Commission. As a result, Virginia Mason Medical Center has established a “contingent accreditation” status. “Our teams are working through items the agency has focused on and we are confident we will address them to the Joint Commission’s satisfaction in the coming weeks,” reads the statement.
At Allegiant Experts, we consider reports of such negligence in the medical field very troubling. In our last blog, we pointed out the huge ramifications that can result from medical errors such as the holding back of pertinent information about a patient’s health status. As we detailed, Foghat bassist Craig MacGregor is seeking treatment for his lung cancer four years later than he could have. Aleccia notes that Virginia Mason Medical Center is now backtracking to provide patients with much-needed information about their health.
She writes that the Joint Commission’s initial visit to Virginia Mason triggered the hospital’s decision to notify 650 dialysis patients – dating back to 2011 – that it failed to properly screen them for hepatitis B infections at their on-site kidney dialysis center. And although officials have stated the potential risk of infection is “quite low”, it is evident that such deficiencies with Virginia Mason Medical Center cannot be tolerated.
The team, here at Allegiant Experts, certainly doesn’t tolerate medical misconduct. Such negligence is leading to far too many deaths in the United States. And more needs to be done to minimize malpractice as much as possible. If you are an attorney who would like any information about our clinical expert services or our experience with hospital and medical malpractice cases, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 407-217-5831.