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Feds Probe Incident at Duke U. Hospital

Sep 11, 2003 | AP

Federal investigators visited Duke University Hospital after hospital officials reported an incident involving a patient.

Jim Jones, spokesman for the state Division of Facility Services, confirmed the visit that occurred last Friday and on Monday.

Jones said inspectors from the state Division of Facility Services conducted the investigation on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. That agency oversees quality of all health care facilities receiving payments from the federal insurance programs for the elderly and poor.

Duke reported the incident on Sept. 4, but Jones said he was not authorized to provide details about the date or the nature of the incident pending a CMS review.

A statement issued by the hospital said: "Duke University Hospital is reviewing an incident that occurred last week involving a patient undergoing an emergent procedure. Hospital staff voluntarily reported the incident to the state Division of Facilities Services on Sept. 3. Duke staff members are working with DFS personnel to review the incident. The review is ongoing. The patient is not being identified in compliance with rules governing patient confidentiality."

Jones said four inspectors visited the hospital Friday and two returned the second day.

Willie Tucker of the CMS office in Atlanta confirmed Wednesday that Duke reported the incident, but said that he could release no details pending the review's completion.

CMS inspectors have cited Duke Hospital for several problems this year, starting with those uncovered after the death of 17-year-old Mexican immigrant Jesica Santillan. Santillan died Feb. 22 from complications related to a heart-lung transplant of the wrong blood type.

Inspections in March uncovered multiple problems in the dialysis unit and in the bone marrow transplant unit at Lenox Baker Children's Hospital. CMS re-inspected the facilities in early July and subsequently notified the hospital that the agency accepted Duke's corrections.

Another investigation followed a June flash fire that burned a 2-day-old baby. The incident reportedly left the unidentified baby with first-, second- and third-degree burns over 10 percent of its body.

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