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Uh-oh… another medical error at Rhode Island Hospital

October 13, 2010

To be fair, it’s been about a year since Rhode Island Hospital’s last public medical error.

That was when a surgeon operated on the wrong finger of a patient. The hospital  got a lot of negative publicity for that mistake, mostly because the Department of Health issued a $150,000 dollar fine and required a whole list of changes.

I did a feature on those requirements last year and pointed out that the number of errors at Rhode Island hospital really aren’t all that unusual; it’s  public perception that’s different.

In any case, the PR lady at Rhode Island Hospital sighed when she recognized my number on her caller ID.  She knew I wanted to talk about the latest error.  “I’ll send you the statement,” she said.

So here it is-


Statement from Rhode Island Hospital Contact: Ellen Slingsby

October 12, 2010

Statement from Rhode Island Hospital

On August 4, a small piece of a drill bit used during a procedure broke off and was not accounted for at the end of the procedure, as is required by one of our policies. It was subsequently identified through diagnostic imaging; the material was successfully removed on August 6, and the patient was discharged the same day.

As with any unanticipated outcome, we have apologized to the patient and have conducted a full investigation. The physician and operating room staff involved were suspended until the conclusion of the review.  Following the suspension a team comprised of the chief executive officer, the chief of neurosurgery, the chief medical officer, and the medical and nursing directors of the operating room reviewed the situation and took appropriate disciplinary action on the individuals involved.

We reported the issue to the Rhode Island Department of Health and they conducted an investigation and we are awaiting their findings.  We continue to collaborate with them throughout this and all of their review processes.

Due to patient confidentiality, we cannot comment further on the specifics of this case.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lefty Righty permalink
    October 14, 2010 1:52 am

    What is wrong with this hospital! They do not appear to take the issues of safety seriously. I do not care if they have the same number of mistakes as the industry standard. hospitals need to wake up and start focusing on preventing these mistakes from happening. Imagine if the airline industry accepted human errors as the industry standard!


  1. Oops! Suregeons at RI Hospital left forceps inside a patient’s abdomen « The Pulse: health care in RI

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