Safety Improvements at UCI Medical Center Approved
The Department of Health Services approved a plan by the University of California-Irvine Medical Center to correct safety violations found after a psychiatric patient committed suicide in December 2005, according to a report released Thursday, the Orange County Register reports.
A DHS investigation found that staff at the hospital did not adequately monitor the patient, who locked himself in the bathroom and hanged himself from a handle on the wall.
Under the plan:
- All bathroom locks in the hospital's psychiatric ward will be removed;
- All showerheads and grab bars will be replaced with breakaway models;
- Staff members will be required to see the patient during safety checks (Bernhard, Orange County Register, 4/7); and
- Pharmacists will be required to review and make computerized entries in patients' medical records to show they have signed off on drugs prescribed to treat symptoms for which they are not approved by FDA (Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 4/7).
In related news, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake in an e-mail to faculty and staff on Tuesday outlined progress being made on recommendations for addressing problems at the UCI Medical Center, the Times reports (Yoshino, Los Angeles Times, 4/6).
Since November 2005, the hospital has disclosed problems in its liver, kidney and bone-marrow transplant programs, and its cardiologists' credentials have been questioned, among other issues (California Healthline, 3/10).
UCI is beginning a program-by-program review of the medical center, hiring consultants and starting a search for a vice chancellor of health affairs and an ombudsman, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 4/6).