Ensure hospitals don’t do more harm
Officials at Mount Carmel Health System near Columbus appear to be working hard to correct the problems that made possible the deaths of at least 25 people due to excessive doses of painkillers, for which only one person — William Husel — is facing charges.
At least 23 other employees have been fired, and top leaders, including the chief executive and chief clinical officer, are stepping down to allow for a change at the top. Though the 23 employees being fired will not face prosecution, most of them are being reported to their respective professional boards for review for further potential disciplinary action. (Eleven other people are being given the change to retain their jobs if they go through more training.)
In announcing the firings, outgoing President and CEO Ed Lamb also said, “We are deeply sorry for the additional grief and frustration this has caused and are working to provide reasonable settlements with affected families.”
Financial settlements and news of the additional firings are likely cold comfort to the families of those who were killed.
But the size of the problem at Mount Carmel may mean the deaths were probably aided by systemic failures that could exist in other hospitals.
Employees on Mount Carmel’s physician, nursing and pharmacy management teams were all deemed responsible enough by internal investigators to warrant their firing. The news should prompt an analysis of training, policies and procedures by all hospitals. Placing an emphasis on cultures of vigilance and accountability — on all rungs of the ladder — is essential, too.
No one should have to worry a hospital is not doing all it can to “do no harm” to their loved ones.