SAN DIEGO COUNTY: May Drop Children’s Hospital from Trauma Network
Capping off ten years of concerns over the quality of care at Children's Hospital, San Diego County officials are considering "removing the facility from the regional trauma-center network." Recently completed audits showed that hospital doctors and staff "did not respond promptly to treat critically injured children in some instances, that there is inadequate quality control and that deficient record-keeping could compromise lifesaving care." To avoid removal from the network, hospital officials this week submitted documents to the county demonstrating their efforts at compliance. Dr. Robert Ross, director of the county Department of Health and Human Services, has brought in a team of outside experts to assess the hospital's performance and recommend whether to remove or retain the hospital in the county system. According to sources, county reviews of Children's revealed that trauma and neurosurgeons took too long arriving, potentially life-threatening injuries were mishandled and significant diagnostic errors were made.
Dazed and Confused
Children's President Blair Sadler disputed the county's allegations, saying the hospital staff was "stunned." Salder "sharply disputed the purported deficiencies" as insignificant or patently inaccurate. He emphasized that no patients were ever at risk at the hospital, saying, "Every kid in the audited (cases) went home healthy and fine," he said. While the facility has been questioned before on "disagreements over charts" and "documentation of surgeon response times," its quality of care had not been an issue, he said. In addition, Sadler "said a national study conducted by 32 major hospitals for children showed San Diego's facility had one of the best records for quality treatment of patients in the intensive care unit" (Dalton, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/29).