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hospitals

Flickr Photo/Michael B.

Starting Thursday, hospitals that plan to merge or form partnerships will now undergo state review as part of a new rule that takes effect this week. And nobody’s happy with the new regulations, not even the critics who called for change.

Harborview Considers Closing Some Clinics For Poor

Dec 30, 2013
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.

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.

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.

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.

Public hospital districts that provide maternity care must also ensure that abortion and contraception services are available to women. That’s the opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office yesterday. It comes on the heels of recent hospital partnerships that involve religious organizations. Critics have been trying to put the brakes on these contracts until there’s proper oversight.

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.

The state of Washington is just beginning the process of writing new rules to govern hospital mergers. But already there’s controversy over what role the state should play when religious health care providers propose to take over hospitals.

The pace of hospital mergers has picked up in recent years amid a climate of healthcare consolidation. Many of them involved Catholic-based providers. The ACLU of Washington and other organizations are concerned this trend could limit access to end-of-life and reproductive services.

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.

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.

Debate Over Catholic Health Care Expansion In Washington State

Jun 4, 2013
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.

The ACLU is asking Governor Jay Inslee to call for a moratorium on hospital mergers and affiliations for six months.  Many of these partnerships involve faith-based health care providers. The ACLU, along with ten other local organizations, sent a letter to the governor saying they’re worried that these mergers will hurt patients in the long run.

Imaginary Friends Forever

May 22, 2013
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:

Swedish hospital entrance
John Ryan / KUOW

US hospitals harm one out of every seven patients they aim to help. So-called “adverse events” inside hospitals are one of the leading causes of death in America.

The State Supreme Court today heard arguments in a case that could decide whether faith-based employers in Washington have some exemption from the state’s anti-discrimination law.

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