Medical Director's Statement on Nov. 2010 DOH Findings

Statement by Dr. David Fisher, Senior Vice President and Medical Director


Today we received reports from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) on three open investigations recently covered in the news media. After thorough investigations, the DOH reports that they found no hospital “deficiencies”. This means that the policies, systems and procedures at Seattle Children’s meet their requirements for protecting patient safety.

Statement from Dr. David Fisher, Medical Director at Seattle Children’s:

For Children’s, it is absolutely critical to meet DOH policy and systems requirements for protecting patient safety. However, the fact remains that medication errors occurred, which means that there is still room to improve our systems to fully support our patients and staff and minimize opportunities for error.

As we promised, we have been fully cooperating with state investigations of these incidents and we have taken the following actions:

  • Changed our policy for calcium chloride administration: only pharmacists and anesthesiologists can prepare doses of calcium chloride in non-emergent situations
  • Initiated a reevaluation of our entire medication delivery system
  • Launched a detailed root-cause analysis to determine why our usual safety processes failed in each of the medication error cases
  • Held forums with more than 2,500 staff members to review medication safety policies to ensure all staff are re-educated and fully familiar with safe medication behaviors
  • Engaged an independent team of patient safety experts from The Institute for Safe Medication Practices to begin a comprehensive review of medication ordering, dispensing, and administration
  • Held a day-long patient safety day to bring over 550 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other staff members together to participate in more than 28 patient safety sessions.

Our commitment to patient safety goes beyond meeting regulatory requirements. Our staff are dedicated to providing the safest care to the patients and families who place their trust in us. It is our promise that we will continue to improve patient safety.

While the DOH has concluded investigations of Children’s regarding these incidents, they are still conducting investigations of some of the clinicians involved. Just as we honor the privacy of our patients, we also honor the privacy of our faculty and staff.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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