Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Body Count Rises At Killer King/Drew! Even The Dead Are Not Safe!!


Now that the LA Times has - finally - gotten the courage to call for a shut down and then immediate re-opening of Killer King/Drew with new managers and a new staff, the editorial page needs to keep the heat on to protect the residents of South Los Angeles. The most horrifying aspects of these endless stories is that it often takes months before the truth accidentally slips out - which means that many, many more incidents are likely happening that no one will ever know about.

A seriously ill patient died at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center after nurses failed to respond "for an extended period" to audio alarms signaling his distress — the seventh death in two years in which staffers have virtually ignored vital sign monitors, Los Angeles County health officials said Tuesday.

The incident, which took place in March, was one of four reported to the county Board of Supervisors in the last week in which patients allegedly received questionable care. Three of the cases occurred over four days last month.


"It's just one thing after another, with the eyes of the world on this hospital," said Supervisor Don Knabe. "It is outrageous. How many times can you say the word publicly? You can yell, scream, jump up and down, but things don't seem to change."

In the March incident, a patient in the cardiac unit was attached to a monitor so that his vital signs could be tracked constantly. According to a health department memo sent to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, none of the four nurses on the unit responded when alarms signaled that the patient was in distress. By the time one of them noticed the patient's condition, he could not be resuscitated.

Health officials said they did not learn of the incident until more than two months later, when a tipster alerted them.

Officials declined to provide further details of the case, but it was reminiscent of six other deaths in monitoring units since July 2003. In some of those cases, nurses were found not just to have neglected patients as they were dying, but to have turned down audio monitors or lied about their actions on patient charts. Several of the nurses have been fired. One nurse, who recently had her state nursing license revoked, wrote on a chart that a patient was not in distress, even though the woman's heart had stopped.


Anonymous said...

The hospital maybe needs some help but its all there is in the area. How many people are saved because there was somewhere for them to go when they were having a heart attack? We hear there is a new chief over there now who is going to shake things up.

Anonymous said...

excuse me? are u freakin serious. I'm 17. I got to King/Drew Medical High School across the street and I had a hospital class all last year. 4 hour class. I spent this time actually working in the hospital, observing and learning about the hospital environment. YOu are gravely mistaken. The deaths of most of any patients are due to the lack of personel at the hospital which is by far....not by any fault of the hospital but by the city government. Funding was cut, many nurses were laid off and many people were laid off in very important roles in the hospital. I have seen incidents where there is One....i repeat ONE nurse for a whole section...she's running 6-7 different rooms by herself...all because the big boys downtown deemed K/D Hosp. not worthy of funding because it's in a minority neighborhood and is costing the district money due to the constant bombargment of patients in the emergency rooms every day. This Hopsital serves 5 surroundin districts...and has the best gun shot wound surgeons and medical personel for miles around...just because they deal with these type wounds on a daily basis....and people have died because funding has been cut.....the e.r. tightened...and victims were forced to go to hospitals 15-20 miles away....and tragically...most die on the way there. sad.

Anonymous said...

and the above comment was to the poster....not the other anonymous commenter...excuse my lack of clarity...and I obviously agree with the first person to comment on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I also don't mean to sound too harsh. I just get so upset when I hear obviously exaggerated and bias articles..(especially in the LA times) on this matter. What people "heard happened" and what ACTUALLY happened are two different stories and i get tired of people from the outside trying to justify things or ridicule and judge things they have no real prior insight to. It's rediculous how the public's view of this hopsital has been twisted and mauled due to those flaming articles in the paper.

mlc2005 said...

I know this is an old article, BUT, I had to respond to the high school student's comments above. I think it's great you got to work in a hospital in high school! I can tell you, however, that I once worked at MLK, and the place was a joke, as I now realize working at new hospitals. The LA Times articles were brilliant, and let's not forget that accrediting medical agencies continually said that King failed even basic standards of care. It was not the LA Times that caused this tragedy, and certainly not "cuts." Remember that King spent more money, per patient, than ALL OTHER California hospitals!!!! Any staff shortages were due to malpractice costs, bogus workman comp costs, and ridiculous salaries to incompetent (and I might add, ARROGANT as shit) doctors, such as Dr. Locke- who I rarely ever saw in the hospital. I loved when the times exposed a time card that said he had worked "26 hours in one day!"

I can understand your allegiance to the hospital, but I hope you now realize, with other experiences, that the hospital was a joke.