Seattle Children’s statement on Jan. 2011 DOH findings

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

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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