Kent Hospital making changes in light of medical mistakes


WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — For the second time this month, a local hospital is in hot water after making several medical errors this year, including leaving medical equipment inside two patients’ bodies.

The Rhode Island Department of Health announced Friday that Kent Hospital in Warwick will invest more than $1 million in improvements following the mistakes. The allotted money is part of a consent agreement with the health department to avoid facing regulatory action.

The health department said there are four incidents in question that occurred in the past year:

  • December 6, 2017: Patient underwent a re-excision of the right breast which was performed on the wrong area of the breast.
  • March, 14, 2018: Patient underwent an incision on the left abdomen for a nephrectomy which was intended to be done on the right abdomen.
  • April 10, 2018: Patient underwent insertion of a catheter with use of a guidewire that was subsequently found to be retained in the patient following the procedure.
  • May 20, 2018: Patient underwent insertion of a catheter with use of a guidewire that as subsequently found to be retained in the patient following the procedure.

Instead of regulatory action, the Health Department said the hospital will take several steps to prevent mistakes such as these from happening again:

  • Requesting and implementing the recommendations of the national hospital accrediting body, known as the Joint Commission, and putting in place process improvement methodologies developed by the Joint Commission.
  • Hiring an independent compliance organization to provide monitoring and oversight for at least one year. The deadline to choose an organization is Aug. 1.
  • Submitting to the health department policies and procedures related to access to electronic medical records, with a focus on policies related to the number of patients records a user can access simultaneously.
  • Conducting facility-wide training on patient identification and procedure verification.

In a joint statement to Eyewitness News, Kent Hospital and Care New England, which owns the hospital, said they are firmly committed to addressing these errors.

“We take the matters raised in these findings very seriously and, from the very beginning, self-reported all of these events to the RI Department of Health,” the statement said. “We are grateful to the RI Department of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for their careful review, assessment, and guidance to enhance our own internal reviews.”

Kent Hospital said it has already begun an “active and aggressive” improvement plan to prevent errors from happening in the future.

“We believe we have a health care system devoted to providing tremendous outcomes for our patients who need a wide array of care,” the statement said. “We continue to focus our attention on improving quality at all of our facilities which are considered to be leaders both in the industry and in the community.”

Earlier this month, Rhode Island Hospital also entered a consent agreement with the health department after four mistakes on patients procedures, including one meant for another patient.

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