Hospital’s poor safety culture blamed for deaths of stomach patients

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A hospital where five patients died following stomach reduction surgery has been heavily criticised for its safety procedures.

The Dutch Safety Board (Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid) said the Scheper Ziekenhuis in Emmen, Drenthe, gave too little consideration to the risks involved in modernising its treatment.

An earlier investigation blamed the surgeon for the deaths, but the safety board said serious incidents in hospitals were rarely the fault of a single individual.

It said that in applying increasingly complex surgical procedures to patients with extreme weight problems, the Scheper Ziekenhuis had taken too many risks and not paid due attention to patient safety.

The lack of proper checks in the system meant that the “safety net” around the surgeon concerned failed, the board concluded.

It ordered the hospital to put procedures in place to ensure medical staff were able to deal with patient safety, especially when treatment was being modernised.

The hospital was also told to carry out risk assessments for all new procedures and keep records of results and monitoring procedures.

Source: NRC: Onderzoeksraad uit harde kritiek op Scheper Ziekenhuis
Photo by Salim Fadhley

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