An embattled hospital has struggled to stay afloat, as the New York Department of Health has shuttered emergency care operations and canceled all procedures – including surgeries – that require lab work. Hospital closures in the city have made news in recent years, raising questions about quality of care and the risk for medical malpractice in New York.
Manhattan medical malpractice attorneys are encouraged by the state’s bold action in this case, but believe more should have been done sooner.
According to documents from the health department, inspectors came to look into the conditions at Peninsula Hospital Center in Far Rockaway, New York. While there, they uncovered “serious deficiencies” not only in administration, but in the operation of the clinical laboratory – to the point where patient safety was in jeopardy. In fact, dozens of problems were identified.
Among the major issues inspectors found:
- Lack of staff training and competency;
- Unsafe transportation of infectious materials;
- Severe lack of supervision, particularly on evenings and weekends;
- An employee was allowed to work solo after just two days of training;
- The standing operating procedure was grossly deficient;
- Routine maintenance of certain instruments was not performed or documented;
- There was no inventory system;
- Expired materials were used for testing;
- There was no computer back-up for information that contained critical patient blood history;
- Staff was not wearing personal protective gear, like gloves or face masks, when handling specimens;
- The temperature where certain samples are stored is not monitored;
- Medical waste was not protected from pests or vermin;
- Air flow monitoring – which limits the spread of infectious organisms – was not being conducted;
- Carbon dioxide levels weren’t monitored;
- Lab filters were filthy;
- Tests on certain blood specimens – which should be done within a half hour – weren’t done in any timely manner;
- Bio samples were mislabeled and improperly stored;
- Tissue that is being stored for the purpose of transplants hasn’t been monitored to ensure it was at the correct temperature.
All this represents only a partial list of the problems. Some issues were more extreme than others, and could easily have resulted in serious illness or injury – either to the staff or to unsuspecting patients.
One must wonder how long these violations had been ongoing, and how many people may have already been harmed. The hospital has had to stop all emergency care services for a month, as the lab has been deemed “a danger and a threat” to patients. That was on Feb. 23.
Patients can still get care at the hospital, as long as there is no blood work needed.
Hospital officials, who had to temporarily lay off some 240 employees as a result of the closure, say they are rebuilding the laboratory and aggressively working to update and improve operations. The facility is on the verge of bankruptcy if it does not address all these issues and re-open after the 30 days.
Contact the Long Island injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC for a free appointment to discuss your case when an elder in your family has been mistreated at a facility. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Peninsula Hospital’s problems persist, By Melissa Chan, The Queens Courier