Target: Danielle M. Zerr, MD, Director of Infection Prevention at Seattle Children’s Hospital
Goal: Demand hospital apologize for putting children at risk due to improperly cleaned equipment
When someone’s child falls ill, they trust that the hospital they take their child to will do the best job it can to cure their child of whatever ails them. At the very least, the hospital should prevent the spread of new infections to their patients. Unfortunately, a recent outbreak occurred at Seattle Children’s hospital. Up to 100 patients might have been affected by improperly cleaned equipment used on multiple patients.
In a statement released by Seattle Children’s hospital, they claimed that the risk of infection due to the improperly cleaned equipment is very low. But any risk of infection to children, especially children already dealing with illnesses, is too much.
The hospital has offered free testing for infectious diseases, as if such an offer is a generous favor they are providing for the children, even though the hospital is the one that put the children at risk. But free testing is just the beginning. The hospital needs to review their safety procedures to ensure that this type of situation never happens again. In addition, Seattle Children’s needs to offer a more sincere apology and promise that they will cover any and all medical tests related to possible infections. Anything less than that is a violation of their patients’ trust. Demand that Seattle Children’s own up to the danger in which they put their patients and does the right thing by extending free medical treatment to infected patients.
Dear Danielle M. Zerr, MD,
As the direction of infection prevention at Seattle Children’s hospital, it is your responsibility to ensure that adequate training is given to everyone who handles the equipment used to examine patients. If equipment is improperly used or cleaned (as was the case recently with the new colonoscopy equipment), there can be a substantial risk of infection to patients. This is unacceptable.
Patients trust hospital staff to be perfectly trained. The medical profession does not allow for any mix-ups or mistakes. Unfortunately, that is what happened. What is almost as bad is the hospital’s response to the situation. Children’s Hospital offered free testing to the patients at risk. This is the absolute minimum it should have done. In addition to testing, it should have offered full coverage of any medical expenses related to any possible infection. After all, imagine if this was your child. The children having colonoscopies are already sick. Neither they or their families are in a position to deal with the risk of another disease.
You can still salvage this situation, however. The risk of infection is small, but it is serious. In addition to offering free blood tests, Children’s Hospital needs to offer free coverage of all medical expenses related to any possible infections that result from Children’s mistake. If you do this, it will be the first step in the right direction toward fixing this mistake.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: de:Benutzer:Kalumet via Wikimedia