Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies Call on State To Take Over Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs on Thursday called on the state to take over Los Angeles County-owned Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, alleging that patients are "perishing needlessly because of the deteriorating health services provided by this hospital," the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Molloy, AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/27). A CMS report released in January found that nurses at the hospital were told to lie about patients' conditions, failed to administer drugs prescribed by doctors and left critically ill patients unattended for hours. The report found that staff errors led to the deaths of five King/Drew patients in 2003. The report also found that the patient deaths and staff members' performances revealed the "failure of the hospital to ensure quality health care in a safe environment." According to the report, "Confidential interviews revealed that nursing staff were prohibited from assigning patients a classification of IV," the most serious level of sickness. The report found that during one shift inspected by officials, nurses were caring for four times as many patients as the state permits. Inspectors also found that King/Drew had not corrected problems it had pledged to address previously (California Healthline, 1/30). The Sheriff's Association called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to appoint a special administrator with authority to hire and fire workers at the hospital. Association President Roy Burns also said that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors should "be held responsible" for problems at the hospital, particularly Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, whose district includes the hospital. Burke responded that the county is "spending millions and cracking down, changing systems and firing people to improve the hospital," noting that a new medical director started two weeks ago and new training systems for nurses began two months ago. Representatives for Schwarzenegger and the hospital on Thursday did not respond to calls seeking comment, the AP/Times reports (AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.