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Doctor's Simple Mistake Costs 6-Yr-Old His Life

Doctors made a horrible mistake when treating a young boy, and he's now dead.

A six-year-old boy plagued with several illnesses has died in a Pennsylvania hospital after he was left under a heating blanket for 10 hours during the night. When the unnamed child was rushed into the emergency room at Penn State Hershey Medical Center, he was suffering from an extreme case of low temperature. Staff at the facility immediately put the boy into a special blanket called a ‘Bair Hugger’ in order to raise his body temperature. However, the young boy was then left unattended and unmonitored for 10 hours and eventually lost consciousness and showed no vitals.

The Department of Health (DOH), Pennsylvania, was only recently made aware that a 6-year-old boy died in one of their clinics earlier this year. The young boy, who supposedly suffered from “ongoing complex and life-limiting health issues,” was brought into the hospital with a low body temperature and placed in a Bair Hugger system. The machine is designed to force warm air onto the patient, resulting in a gradual rise in body temperature.

While the patient was responding well to the ‘Bair Hugger’, he was then left overnight without any staff monitoring his temperature. The last record of the boy’s temperature read 98 degrees; however, after spending 10 hours in the machine with no adjustment, the boy’s temperature reached 107.6 degrees. During this ten-hour period, physicians have determined that the blanket was set on high all night. Furthermore, there are no records of any staff member coming to check on the patient during this time period.

When a nurse finally went to check on the boy the following morning, she found him unconscious and showing no signs of life. He was immediately rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit, but he was pronounced dead later that day.

An anonymous letter to the Patient Safety Authority was forwarded to the Department of Health around 80 days after the incident. Upon further investigation, the DOH discovered that no one involved in the child’s care reported his death to the Patient Safety Department. Patient Safety events or incidents which result in the death or serious harm of the patient are required to be reported within 24 hours of the confirmation of the incident. Furthermore, an incident such as this requires a report directly to the DOH within 24 hours of the event. Neither of these two things happened after the 6-year-old boy died.

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center leadership released the following statement regarding the matter: “As an organization that holds itself accountable for providing the highest quality care while protecting the safety of patients, employees and visitors, we recognize this situation as an unacceptable failure. We expect more of ourselves as a system and as individuals committed to the highest standards of care for each person we serve. We have responded with the utmost of focus and determination to do better. During the DOH on-site investigation, we immediately developed a corrective plan of action for each issue identified. Just as importantly, we launched our own investigation to determine what happened, how it happened and how to prevent it from ever occurring again.”

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: Penn State Hershey Medical Center

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