State report finds Summerlin Hospital deficient in TB case handling

Jacqui Heinrich

Photo: Video by ktnv.com

State report finds Summerlin Hospital deficient in TB case handling

CREATED Nov. 4, 2013

Summerlin, NV (KTNV) -- The state bureau in charge of licensing medical facilities, deemed Summerlin Hospital deficient in its handling of a tuberculosis outbreak earlier this year that infected 26 people.

The Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance said Summerlin Hospital, "Failed to follow infection control guidelines," when treating a woman and one of her twin babies who were infected with tuberculosis and later died.

More than 400 people had to be tested for the disease after the hospital failed to contain it; so far 26 people tested positive for tuberculosis, including one hospital employee who came down with the contagious form of the disease, and some test results aren't even in yet.

According to the bureau, Summerlin Hospital's first violation happened when a hospital nurse admitted they forgot to wear gloves when treating a patient infected with Staph on July 11, 2013. The nurse also let three family members into the patient's hospital room without protection.

The second violation: The sick mother was allowed to visit her child in the NICU Level 3 ward, where the most vulnerable babies go for treatment. She was running a fever of 103 degrees Fareinheit, and at the time doctors didn't know what she was suffering from. The hospital claims the mother would have been told to wear a gown and mask, but there's no documentation proving that she was. She later died of meningal tuberculosis.

Finally, there is no documentation proving the sick patient was put into isolation when it was first suspected they had meningitis.

Now, Summerlin Hospital is sending contracts to employees to get them not to sue. The 7-page document reportedly emailed to Summerlin Hospital employees over the weekend states that unless employees take formal action within 30 days and put in writing that they want to retain their right to trial by jury, they automatically agree to resolve disputes internally through the hospital's Alternative Resolution of Conflicts agreement.

"I find it highly suspicious that this is tendered to all employees literally the day after this is headline news," Attorney Matthew Callister told Action News.

Callister said the language of the agreement is at best unethical, and at worst illegal. "Asking somebody to waive your constitutional right to trial by jury is astonishing, and inappropriate I believe," Callister said.

Gretchen Papez of Valley Health Systems told Action News, "The state health department report has nothing to do with the ARC. ARC is a company-wide policy."

The Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance mandated a "Plan of Correction" from Summerlin Hospital and stated in their report that monitoring may be imposed upon the hospital to ensure ongoing compliance with regulations.

Valley Health System representative Gretchen Papez told Action News the Hospital submitted a plan which was hand-delivered to the bureau, but was not available to the media.

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