Saturday, June 23, 2018
Health

State orders Town and Country Hospital to stop taking new surgical patients

TAMPA — State officials investigating the deaths of three patients last month at Town & Country Hospital have issued a temporary order barring the hospital from admitting new patients to its surgical units.

The emergency moratorium from the Agency for Health Care Administration says Town & Country failed to staff the two-wing surgical unit with enough registered nurses to meet patient needs. Instead, the hospital left too many duties to licensed practical nurses, who lack the training and skills of registered nurses.

The temporary moratorium does not affect other areas of the hospital, including the emergency room, behavioral health unit and intensive care unit.

Though the report does not say proper staffing could have prevented the three deaths, it says the hospital's overall failure with nursing assignments in the surgical units puts prospective patients at immediate risk.

"The facts are clear that (Town and Country's) nursing services in its medical surgical units are not meeting patient needs to the level required by law," the report says. "These events are not isolated and have continued over a period of time."

According to the state report, hospital nurses acknowledged problems.

"Nursing staff stated that the patient load exceeds time and service capabilities of staff," the order says.

The 201-bed hospital's surgical units provide services to patients transferred from the emergency room or from surgery and require a close level of nursing care.

Each registered nurse is assigned 6 or 7 patients, according to the AHCA report, and is also required to supervised a licensed practical nurse, who gets a separate set of patients.

When the state signed off on the moratorium on Oct. 31, there were 53 patients already in the surgical units who were allowed to remain. The state says in its report it will monitor conditions at the hospital and reserves the right to take stronger actions.

An agency spokeswoman did not return a phone call seeking additional comment.

The state's report elaborates on problems associated with the care of several patients, including three who died last month. Those three patients included:

• A stroke patient with a feeding tube whose charts lack documentation that a registered nurse was monitoring the patient's vital signs.

• A patient with chest pains whose move to intensive care came 20 minutes after a physician had ordered it to be done immediately.

• A patient complaining of fecal impaction (a consequence of long-term constipation) whose charts lacked documentation explaining why prescribed intravenous fluids were not being administered, or why low levels of oxygen in the blood were not addressed.

In other cases in which patients survived, records lacked documentation showing registered nurses monitored their initial assessments or their treatment.

The report does not name any of the patients, or indicate where they were from.

This isn't the first time in recent years that Town & Country's nursing staff has captured the attention of regulators.

In February 2011, a state review found significant time gaps — as many as five hours in one case — before emergency room nurses assessed patients after initial triage. The hospital was fined $1,000.

Town & Country Hospital is owned by Iasis Healthcare, a privately held chain based in Tennessee that also owns Memorial Hospital of Tampa and Palms of Pasadena hospital in Pinellas.

In a written statement, Town & Country CEO Dale Johns said the staff is "responding seriously and expeditiously" to the items raised by the state. He said Town & Country has submitted a corrective plan and is waiting for the state's approval and lifting of the moratorium.

"Town and Country Hospital has provided high quality patient care in Tampa for more than 30 years, so this situation is concerning to us and our many experienced care givers," the statement reads. "We are working cooperatively with the Agency and bringing all necessary resources to fully respond to its requirements. … We hope to be admitting patients to our medical/surgical unit very soon."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ST. PETERSBURGShyly, 8-year-old Annabelle Brassfield climbed atop a stool in front of a blank easel, grabbed a brush she named Scarlet and prepared to paint her scars. After three open heart surgeries for a severe congenital heart defect, she’s left ...
Published: 06/22/18
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Published: 06/20/18
Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

TAMPA — Runners gathered for the Gonzmart’s Father’s Day Walk and Jog where they raise money to help aid in Moffitt Cancer Center’s fight against prostate cancer. This year the event raised $110,000, but Moffitt had another surprise in store.Andrea G...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Published: 06/19/18
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, don’t forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. That’s because both products work to protect your body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Published: 06/09/18
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG — Kidney disease doesn’t discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Published: 06/08/18