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.