Friday, February 20, 2015


Sometimes, even though you think you have done everything right, something goes terribly wrong.  Consider this case. A total of 179 patients at a Los Angeles medical center have been exposed to deadly bacteria because an endoscope wasn't properly sterilized.  The hospital insists that it followed manufacturer's guidelines.  Still, patients were infected.  There isn't much one can do in a situation like this except to communicate quickly to those who have been exposed so they can take available measures to detect the bacteria and get treatment.  Both the hospital, the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, and the manufacturer are facing a probability of lawsuits over the error and loss of reputation.  What patient will willingly undergo an endoscopy at the hospital now?  Other facilities can do the procedure.  The hospital has taken pains to explain to the media that it had done everything it was supposed to do, but that isn't nearly enough to alleviate concerns.  There is no tolerance for error in matters like this.  It has to be right each and every time.  Saying one is sorry isn't enough either.  The hospital's communications are going to be difficult for some time to come.


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