The Knuckleheads of the Day award
Today's winners are Neurosurgeon J. Frederick Harrington and Rhode Island Hospital. They get the award for the following.
PROVIDENCE -- A doctor at Rhode Island Hospital started to operate on the wrong side of an 82-year-old woman's head on Friday, barely four months after a similar incident at the same hospital.Three operating room mistakes and one dead patient. All they can do is fine the hospital 50,000. Isn't it disgusting? Unfortunately I can't pull these people's medical licenses. What can I do? I name Neurosurgeon J. Frederick Harrington and Rhode Island Hospital today's Knuckleheads of the Day.
The Health Department today fined the hospital $50,000, noting that this was third wrong-site surgery at the hospital this year, and the fourth in six years -- all involving neurosurgery.
Friday’s surgery occurred at the woman’s bedside. The chief resident performed a procedure to remove blood that had pooled between the patient’s brain and skull on the left side. The resident, a doctor in the final year of neurosurgery training, began drilling a hole on the wrong side, realized the error, and completed the procedure on the correct side, the left.
The patient was in fair condition at the hospital late this afternoon.
The hospital notified the Health Department on Friday, and a Health Department investigation determined that no staff member present during the procedure verified the site as dictated by hospital policy.
“The repeated nature of these events suggests a system and culture problem with patient safety that needs to be addressed,” said a Health Department statement.
An 86-year-old patient arrived at the hospital emergency room three days after a fall, and was found to have blood between his brain and skull. Neurosurgeon J. Frederick Harrington didn’t check the CT scans to see which side to work on, and instead relied on his memory. Harrington drilled into the wrong side of the patient’s head, realized his error, and immediately operated on the correct side. The patient died a week later.
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