4 wrong-site surgeries in 40 days: What happened at Genesis Health System?

TV-6 investigators found a letter in which Genesis Health System, which has hospitals in Iowa and Illinois, told staff members four wrong-site surgeries occurred at the health system's hospitals within 40 days, according to KWQC TV-6.

TV-6 spoke with Ken Croken, vice president of corporate communications for Genesis, about what happened and measures the system is taking to avoid sentinel events in the future.

Within a two-week period, the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals uncovered two wrong-site surgeries occurred at Genesis hospitals. At Genesis Medical Center in Davenport, Iowa, a surgeon cut into a patient's left hip, when the patient needed surgery on a broken right hip. Investigators concluded medical staff did not perform a time out, a crucial safety procedure in which an operating team double checks the patient, the procedure and surgical site prior to cutting.

Another case entailed a patient who had a mass on the right half of their thyroid. The physician made an error and ordered the left half of the patient's thyroid to be removed. Medical personnel only detected the error after the patient underwent the surgery.

Mr. Croken reported he did not have details on the two other wrong-site surgeries. The health system attributes the errors to hospital staff failing to conduct time outs. The state inspector found Genesis did submit a corrections' plan to regulators detailing the problems and possible solutions, such as an entire surgical team participating in a time out.

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