hospitals

Patient Safety
3:14 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Feds To Washington State Hospitals: Improve Patient Safety Or Face Penalties

Marcie Sillman talks with freelance journalist Lisa Stiffler about infection rates and patient safety in Washington hospitals.

Western State Hospital
6:04 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Audit Dings Hospital's 50-Year Practice Of Paid 'Transition Time'

The main entrance of Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Wash.
Credit John Ryan / KUOW

State auditors say Western State Hospital has been losing about $800,000 a year paying for work that's not being done. For decades, the hospital has been letting hundreds of employees start late and leave early -- and still paying for their time.

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Cost Savings
7:53 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Washington Reports An 'Unprecedented' Drop In Medicaid ER Visits

Flickr Photo/Micheal J (CC BY-NC-ND)

A year after hospitals began discouraging Medicaid patients from making unnecessary emergency room visits, the results are promising. A new state report shows the number of unnecessary visits to ERs in Washington fell by 10 percent last year.  

“A 10 percent reduction is almost unprecedented,” said Dr. Nathan Schlicher, an ER physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma.

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Closure Averted
12:48 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Harborview Clinics To Stay Open

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.
Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Harborview Medical Center said Wednesday it will not be closing its primary care clinics after all.

Last December, the hospital had announced its intent to relocate those services into the community. But the prospect of shutting down the clinics located at Harborview's main hospital disturbed many staff and patients.

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Department Of Health
9:11 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Washington's New Rules On Hospital Partnerships Challenged

New rules on hospital mergers put undue burden on hospitals, according to the Wash. State Hospital Association.
Flickr Photo/Ralf (CC BY-NC-SA)

The Washington State Hospital Association has filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court over the state's new permitting process for hospitals.

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Health News
12:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Silencing Many Hospital Alarms Leads To Better Health Care

Amanda Gerety, a staff nurse at Boston Medical Center, checks monitors that track patients' vital signs. Fewer beeps means crisis warnings are easier to hear, she says.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:46 am

Go into almost any hospital these days and you'll hear a constant stream of beeps and boops. To most people it sounds like medical Muzak.

But to doctors and nurses, it's not just sonic wallpaper. Those incessant beeps contain important coded messages.

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Health Care
11:42 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Harborview Considers Closing Some Clinics For Poor

Harborview staff say they were told that several clinics could be closed later next year. Among Harborview's clinics for are the women's clinic, the pediatric clinic and the international clinic.
Credit uwmedicine.org

“Abruptly and brutally.”

That’s how Dr. Abe Bergman described the announcement by administrators to close some of the clinics at Harborview Medical Center. He said staff members were told that some of the primary care clinics housed at the hospital would close in July.

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Investigations
3:00 am
Thu December 5, 2013

How A Recalled Medical Device Killed A Vet At Seattle's VA Hospital

A screenshot from an Infusomat training video warns of the danger of a "free flow" of drugs pouring from the machine if loaded improperly.
Credit B. Braun training video on YouTube.com

Editor’s note 2/7/2014: This story has been edited to remove references to VA officials’ incorrect claim that a Seattle VA nurse saw the Infusomat recall at the FDA website in March 2012. While manufacturer B. Braun sent the VA and other customers its recall notice in March, FDA did not post information about the manufacturer’s March 23, 2012, recall letter until August 1. The story has also been edited to attribute to medical records the statement that, the night Eddie Creed died, a doctor asked his sister if she wanted an autopsy to be done. Creed's sister claims the VA never asked her about an autopsy. The content in the edited story differs from the audio in the original broadcast.

When Eddie Creed, a Seattle jazz musician, died at the Veterans Affairs hospital on Beacon Hill last year, his death certificate said throat cancer had killed him.

But a KUOW investigation reveals what his doctors knew: A medical device called an Infusomat, which had been recalled the month before, ended his life. Still, nobody knows why.

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Faith-Based Organizations
3:59 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

State Proposes New Rules For Hospitals To Address Merger Concerns

Marcie Sillman talks with NARAL Pro-Choice Washington's executive director Rachel Berkson about the group's reaction to new proposed rules for hospital mergers in Washington, including increased public transparency and recommending hospitals post their end-of-life and reproductive health policies online.

Medical Mistakes
6:26 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Hospitals, Nurses Clash Over How To Keep Patients From Falling

Cancer survivor and fall victim Gene White of Des Moines, Wash.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Gene White of Des Moines, Wash., has had a litany of health problems in recent years: testicular cancer; cancer in his nervous system; pneumonia; the fungus Aspergillus infecting his lungs. The retired airline pilot says he got great care at Swedish Medical Center and the other Seattle hospitals that helped him survive those life-threatening diseases.

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Medical Mistakes
6:17 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Caution: Patients Falling At Washington Hospitals

Lester Reed of MultiCare models one of the wrist bands given to hospital patients at high risk of falling.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Medical mistakes are a leading cause of death and injury in America. One of the most frequent mishaps in Washington hospitals: patients who fall. A fall in a hospital can lead to serious complications, even death. Medical experts say that kind of fall should never happen.

One Small Step, One Big Fall

Helen Funston lies on her back in a darkened room. She pushes her shoulder down into physical therapist Stella In’s hand until she gasps with pain.

Funston tells In the pain is an eight out of 10.

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Medical Mistakes
6:09 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Sponges, Tools And More Left Inside Washington Hospital Patients

Sponges and tools about to be used in a hernia surgery at University of Washington Medical Center.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

About 30 times a year, a hospital in Washington state leaves a sponge or surgical instrument inside one of its patients. The accident known as a “retained foreign object” is one of the state’s most commonly reported medical mistakes.

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Mergers Under Scrutiny
8:13 am
Wed July 3, 2013

Governor Inslee Intervenes In Hospital Controversy

A partnership is pending between UW Medicine and PeaceHealth, a Catholic health care provider. Gov. Inslee has issued a new directive that going forward, such alliances or mergers will need to be reviewed by the Department of Health.
Flickr Photo/I-5 Design & Manufacture

Governor Jay Inslee has stepped into the debate over hospital mergers and partnerships. On Tuesday, the governor ordered the State Department of Health to update the rules that govern hospitals when they plan to expand or form affiliations.

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Hospital Debate
11:51 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Debate Over Catholic Health Care Expansion In Washington State

Swedish Medical Center Cherry Hill campus.
Flickr Photo/Michael Holden

 Last year the secular Swedish Medical Center stopped performing elective abortions after affiliating with a Catholic health care provider, Providence Health & Services. Now some organizations in Washington state are calling for a moratorium on similar contracts between secular, publicly funded hospitals and religious providers. They fear patients in the state could see a reduction in access to services.

What happens when faith and health care mix? Should the state do anything about it? Ross Reynolds talks with Peter Adler, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Catholic provider Peacehealth, and Kathleen Turner, head of the ACLU of Washington.

Adolescent Creativity
1:18 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Imaginary Friends Forever

"Deven," April 5, 2007. The words read: "Evil. It has lasers. Lasers! It can fly."
Flickr Photo/Matt LeClair

Did you ever have an imaginary friend? Maybe a furry blue monster who hates stop signs or a chattering fairy that hides in your pocket and steals bites of your breakfast cereal? In the past, many people thought imaginary friends were bad and that they indicated some kind of mental anxiety. In the movies, kids confide in imaginary friends when grown-ups fail to pay attention. But now, we know better: kids with imaginary friends are simply creative.

Scroll through the slideshow to see the imaginary friends that a group of elementary children drew up, along with the students' descriptions of the unique traits of each. And if you think pictures of imaginary friends are cool, wait until you hear them on the radio.

Full list of stories from KUOW Presents, May 22:

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