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Seattle Children’s statement on Jan. 2011 DOH findings

January 25, 2011

Seattle Children’s official statement

We strongly disagree with the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) characterization of this patient’s cause of death. Their review involved a critically ill newborn infant who died of natural causes, as determined by the King County Medical Examiner’s office, prior to transport. Our heart goes out to the family of the infant. We discussed this case openly and fully with the DOH and cooperated fully with this investigation.

Children’s takes this matter very seriously. However, we disagree with the DOH’s statement that the lack of clear written guidelines describing our transport team’s processes and responsibilities may have contributed to the patient’s death. The King County Medical Examiner has determined that this patient died of natural causes. We are confident that our transport guidelines, procedures, and supervisory structure did not contribute to the death of this patient.

The DOH report identified areas to address in our transport program, and we responded to the DOH with a thorough action plan and timeline to address these findings. We will fully comply with all the department’s requirements to ensure that our transport program meets the highest standards of quality, safety and service.

Children’s has safely transported over 3,000 infants over the last 10 years. We are committed to continuous improvement and will continue to dedicate the necessary resources to provide the highest quality, safest care to the patients and families who place their trust in us.

For more information on patient safety efforts at Seattle Children’s please visit:

About Seattle Children's Hospital

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Children’s has been delivering superior patient care and advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org.

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