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Errors cause Denver hospital to review its procedures

Recently obtained documents show that in July 2010, the state of Colorado sanctioned the entire management team at Porter Adventist Hospital, and the hospital was also threatened with the cutoff of Medicare funding. The sanctions were based on the hospital's alleged part in mishandled robot surgeries and other "never events" that included leaving sponges inside patients.

The surgical errors are a shared responsibility between the doctor and the hospital. However, the health department does not supervise doctors, but the hospital's actions are subject to federal and state review. Porter Adventist has reportedly created a plan to correct the deficiencies, and in late 2010, the state said the hospital was no longer in danger of losing its Medicare funding.

The doctor who was at the root of most of the hospital's issues was charged with 14 counts of unprofessional conduct. 11 of the cases involve robot surgeries performed at Porter Adventist between 2008 and 2010. One involves a retained instrument in a 48-year-old man who was donating his kidney. The medical board decided to charge the doctor with creating a hole in the renal artery, which caused the surgery to convert from robotic to an open procedure to repair the problem. The doctor was told before he closed the patient that the instruments weren't all accounted for, but he closed the patient despite the warning. An X-ray later showed a sponge or drain left inside the patient.

Surgical errors may cause a patient issues that last a lifetime. If an error involving robot surgery or a left behind item has caused a patient harm, it might be in his or her best interest to contact a medical malpractice attorney, who may be able to review the circumstances of the case and negotiate a settlement that will cover future medical bills and compensate the victim for pain and suffering as well.

Source: Denver Post, "State health officials sanctioned Porter hospital in surgery errors ," Michael Booth, April 13, 2013

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