Update November 14, 2013

Update November 14, 2013

The tragic death of patient Lynne Spalding Ford shook our hospital and the entire city. What happened to Ms. Spalding should never have happened. Our hearts go out to Ms. Spalding’s family and friends and we are keeping them foremost in our minds as we work to solve this problem. We are doing everything we can to learn the facts and to ensure that it never happens again.

Our only focus is on having a safe and secure environment for our patients, staff and visitors. To do that, we need to get to the root causes of what happened in Ms. Spalding’s death. We will do whatever it takes to make that happen, and make any and all required changes so that our hospital meets the highest standards.

Here is a round up of what has occurred since October 8.

Investigations:

  • We are seeking help from staff to identify a witness who saw a person lying in the stairwell on Oct 4. The UC Police Department is assisting the SF Police Department by circulating information to staff. Anyone with information should contact: SFPD Hot Line: 415/431-2127 or SFPD Inspector Dan Cunningham: 415/553-1109 or UCSF PD Hot Line: 1-800/403-4744 or UCSF PD Lieutenant Eric Partika: 415/571-4327
  • The SF Police Department is investigating the suspicious death of Ms. Spalding.
  • The SF Sheriff’s Department also is conducting an investigation, and released preliminary findings on November 6.
  • The CA Department of Public Health arrived on October 30 to conduct an investigation on behalf of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). They concluded November 8. We expect their formal findings in a few weeks, and we will provide a plan of correction for any deficiencies. An unannounced CMS validation survey with a full team of investigators is expected to follow to verify the implementation of the plan of correction.
  • We also expect a visit from the Joint Commission, the independent organization that accredits hospitals.  

Security – New Measures in Place:

  • Daily emergency stairwell checks by Sheriff deputies.
  • We have updated all emergency stairwell door alarms to require deactivation with a key.
  • When a stairwell alarm rings, it triggers a security check by Sheriff

Deputies.

  • When a stairwell alarm rings, and the stairwell is near a patient care unit, the charge nurse immediately checks the unit to ensure that all patients are accounted for.
  • We began a program November 8 to re-train and re-orient all Sheriff’s Department staff on the SFGH campus.

Security – Next Steps:

  • The independent review of our security and facilities systems by UCSF has begun, and its first priority is a review of security system controls for SFGH patient care buildings. The first recommendations are expected in 30 to 90 days. Contact UCSF News Office for more information.
  • Sheriff’s Captain Ken Ferrigno has been assigned to SFGH full time, and he will make personnel and procedural changes to address immediate security needs on campus. Contact the Sheriff’s Department for more information.
  • We are exploring expanding our existing private security contracts to make up for current shortfalls.
  • Barbara Garcia, Director of Health, is working with the Health Commission to seek near and long-term solutions to ensure patient and staff safety.

Ms. Spalding’s Family:

  • We have talked to her daughter and to the family’s lawyer on several occasions.
  • We have offered our condolences and any resources that we can provide.
  • We have shared information and updates as we learn them.

SFGH Staff:

  • Specially trained response teams have worked with several units affected by the tragedy and are still available to counsel individuals and groups.
  • Hospital chaplains held a service of healing for staff in the chapel.
  • The tragedy was discussed by hospital leadership and staff at an all-staff town hall and at a managers’ forum.

Regular updates are posted on our web site and on the hotline 206-3376.  

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SFGH statement on Sheriff’s investigation update – Nov 6, 2013

San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center
San Francisco Department of Public Health 

Statement on Sheriff’s Investigation Update about the Death of Lynne Spalding

November 6, 2013

Today,  San  Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released preliminary findings of  his investigation into the tragic death of patient Lynne  Spalding Ford at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH).

The Sheriff’s Department contracts with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide security services at SFGH and other DPH sites. Today’s announcement was our first opportunity to learn the contents of the Sheriff’s investigation.

It is good to have more information as we are all seeking answers about what happened to Ms. Spalding, so that it will never happen again.

“Our security arrangement must respond to the needs of our patients and staff,” said Barbara Garcia, Director of Health. “It must be so difficult for Lynne Spalding’s family and friends to hear today’s news. We owe it to them, and to all our current and future patients, to strengthen our security services.”

The hospital has been cooperating with all of the investigations into this tragedy, including those by law enforcement, and now also by federal health care regulators. That team is on site and has been interviewing every staff person, from SFGH, UCSF, and the Sheriff’s Department, who was involved in the case.

“The federal investigation is helping us tremendously to learn more about what happened to Ms. Spalding,” said Sue Currin, CEO of SFGH.

   Immediate next steps include:

·       The independent review of our security and facilities systems by UCSF has begun, and its first priority is a review of security system controls for SFGH patient care buildings. The first recommendations are expected in 30 to 90 days.
·       Today, we began a program to re-train and re-orient all Sheriff’s Department staff on the SFGH campus.
·       We are exploring expanding our existing private security contracts to make up for current shortfalls.
·       The Director of Health is working with the Health Commission to seek near and long-term solutions to ensure patient and staff safety.

“Our only focus is on having a safe and secure environment for our patients, staff and visitors,” said Currin. “To do that, we need to get to the root causes of what happened in Lynne Spalding’s death. We will do whatever it takes to make that happen, and make any and all required changes so that our hospital meets the highest standards. It is our responsibility.”

In addition to the next steps outlined today, the hospital already has taken several measures to tighten the security of our emergency exit stairwells and can assure our patients, staff and the public that they are safer now than they have ever been. These steps include:
·       daily emergency stairwell checks by Sheriff deputies
·       we have updated all emergency stairwell door alarms to now require deactivation with a key (note that none of these alarms were deficient, broken or inoperable; they just weren’t all set to require manual deactivation.)
·       when a stairwell alarm rings, it triggers a security check by Sheriff deputies
·       when a stairwell alarm rings, and the stairwell is near a patient care unit, the charge nurse immediately checks the unit to ensure that all patients are accounted for

                                    ###

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UCSF PD Seeks Witness in Death Incident at SFGH –

UCSF Police Department released the following bulletin on Monday, October 28th seeking information about a witness with information about the case of Lynn Spalding Ford’s death.

San Francisco General Hospital appreciates the expanded efforts to find this important witness who may have information about what happened to Lynne Spalding. We hope that it will result in more answers to this tragedy.

Information Bulletin

University of California San Francisco Police

Oct 28, 2013

The UCSF Police Department is assisting the San Francisco Police Department which is investigating the death of Lynn Spalding Ford, who was found deceased on a stairwell at San Francisco General Hospital earlier this month.

We are all saddened by the loss of Lynn Spalding Ford, and we need your assistance in helping with the identification of a witness with information valuable to those investigating her death. UCSF Police and San Francisco Police are asking all UCSF and SFGH employees for their assistance identifying the witness described below:

On Friday, October 4, 2013 shortly before 7:30 a.m., an unknown male employee with hospital identification was admitted onto the fifth floor from the emergency exterior stairwell. This witness reported to a SFGH senior staff member that he had seen someone lying on the stairwell below. This information was then reported to the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office.

This witness is described as an Asian male adult, approximately 30-40 years of age, 5’ 8″ tall, with a medium build. The witness was wearing a blue dress shirt and possibly a tie. 

Law enforcement and hospital administration have been unsuccessful in identifying this male witness and are asking for everyone’s assistance in identifying and locating this individual. 

Anyone with information identifying this individual is strongly encouraged to come forward. Please contact either UCSF PD or SFPD through one of the following numbers:

SFPD Hot Line: 415/431-2127 

SFPD Inspector Dan Cunningham: 415/553-1109

UCSF PD Hot Line: 1-800/403-4744 

UCSF PD Lieutenant Eric Partika: 415/571-4327

Updates will be posted here and on the SFGH Media Hotline, 415-206-3376, as information develops.

 

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Update from SFGH – Oct 24

San Francisco General Hospital’s staff and leadership are deeply shaken by the tragic death of Lynne Spalding Ford and are keeping her family and friends foremost in our minds as we seek answers to this tragedy. We commit to them and to all our patients and families that this problem will be solved, and it will never happen again.

We are fully cooperating with the law enforcement investigations by police and sheriff, which are still open. We expect that when those investigations are complete, there will be important answers to what happened to Lynne, which we all want to learn. Also, the medical examiner’s findings of time and cause of death will provide key information.

In the meantime, we have taken several measures to tighten the security of our emergency exit stairwells and can assure our patients, staff and the public that they are safer now than they have ever been. These steps include:

  • daily emergency stairwell checks by sheriff deputies
  • updating all emergency stairwell door alarms to require deactivation with a key
  • if a stairwell alarm rings, it will trigger a security check by sheriff deputies
  • if a stairwell alarm rings, and the stairwell is near a patient care unit, the charge nurse will immediately check the unit to ensure that all patients are accounted for

We have reached out to Lynne’s family to offer condolences, clear information and any resources that we can provide. We are working with our staff to help them process the grief of Lynne’s death, a terrible event unlike anything that has happened here before.

San Francisco General Hospital treats more than 100,000 patients and their families each year. We want our patients to have full confidence that in addition to excellent health care services, we will also provide for their safety and security when they are on our campus.

Updates will continue to be posted here and on our media hotline, 415-206-3376, as information develops.

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Update from SFGH – Oct 24th

San Francisco General Hospital’s staff and leadership are deeply shaken by the tragic death of Lynne Spalding Ford and are keeping her family and friends foremost in our minds as we seek answers to this tragedy. We commit to them and to all our patients and families that this problem will be solved, and it will never happen again.

We are fully cooperating with the law enforcement investigations by police and sheriff, which are still open. We expect that when those investigations are complete, there will be important answers to what happened to Lynne, which we all want to learn. Also, the medical examiner’s findings of time and cause of death will provide key information.

In the meantime, we have taken several measures to tighten the security of our emergency exit stairwells and can assure our patients, staff and the public that they are safer now than they have ever been. These steps include:

  • daily emergency stairwell checks by sheriff deputies
  • updating all emergency stairwell door alarms to require deactivation with a key
  • if a stairwell alarm rings, it will trigger a security check by sheriff deputies
  • if a stairwell alarm rings, and the stairwell is near a patient care unit, the charge nurse will immediately check the unit to ensure that all patients are accounted for

We have reached out to Lynne’s family to offer condolences, clear information and any resources that we can provide. We are working with our staff to help them process the grief of Lynne’s death, a terrible event unlike anything that has happened here before.

San Francisco General Hospital treats more than 100,000 patients and their families each year. We want our patients to have full confidence that in addition to excellent health care services, we will also provide for their safety and security when they are on our campus.

Updates will continue to be posted here and on our media hotline, 415-206-3376, as information develops.

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Last Asiana Airlines Accident Patient Released

October 23, 2013

Contact: Rachael Kagan, 415 206-3170 or

rachael.kagan@sfdph.org

San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (SFGH) Update

Last Asiana Airlines Accident Patient Released From Hospital, 109 Days After Admission

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center is pleased to announce that the last patient from the Asiana Airlines accident was released in good condition yesterday and transferred to a Bay Area rehabilitation facility.

The female patient arrived in critical condition on Saturday July 6, with complex, life-threatening injuries. She suffered spinal cord injury that resulted in paralysis, road burns over 30 percent of her body and severe intestinal injuries that prevented her from taking solid food for two months. In her 15-week hospitalization she underwent about 30 surgeries, including neurosurgical, multiple abdominal procedures, extensive wound care and skin grafting and other procedures to repair her injuries.

“This hospital saved her life,” said Dr. Margaret Knudson, Chief of Surgery, who personally performed 21 of the surgeries. “She’s one of the sickest patients I’ve ever cared for in my career. Our whole team breathed a big sigh of relief when she left. Not that we’re glad that she’s gone of course, but we’re glad that she made it.”

The patient, whose family has asked that her name and new location not be released, came in the first wave of critically injured patients on the day of the accident, when SFGH treated 53 patients from the crash. Over the next few days, additional patients arrived, reaching a total of 67 patients treated – 36 adults and 31 children — more than at any other hospital. Before yesterday, the most recent discharge was another woman who had arrived in critical condition on July 6 and was discharged in good condition to a rehabilitation facility on September 22.

San Francisco General Hospital is the only trauma center in the city, providing life-saving emergency care to residents and visitors of San Francisco and northern San Mateo counties.

“The work performed by our intensive care and operative teams throughout her care was amazing and directly contributed to her success. ” Dr. Knudson said. “She’s a real save. That’s what we call it when things go well. She was smiling when she left. It was a beautiful sight. “

###

San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center is the sole provider of trauma and psychiatric emergency services for the City and County of San Francisco. A comprehensive medical center, SFGH serves some 100,000 patients per year and provides 20 percent of the city’s inpatient care. In 2011, SFGH became the first hospital in the country to be certified for a Traumatic Brain Injury program. As San Francisco’s public hospital, SFGH’s mission is to provide quality health care and trauma services with compassion and respect to patients that include the city’s most vulnerable. General Hospital is also one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, partnering with the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine on clinical training and research.

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Update from SFGH- Oct 19

Sat Oct 19, 2013

By Sue Currin, RN, MSN

CEO, San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center

Today the San Francisco Chronicle reported disturbing new information about Lynne Spalding Ford’s tragic death. We feel terrible for Lynne Spalding Ford’s family and friends, as this part of the unfolding story must be incredibly painful. We also know that our hospital staff is very distressed and concerned about Lynne’s death and is committed to finding out exactly what happened so that it will never happen again.

At this time we must adhere to the process of cooperating with the ongoing police and sheriff investigations into the incident. Those are the key sources of answers about what happened, which we all want to learn. We must allow those investigations to be completed without interference.

Security on our campus is of utmost importance. We already have taken several steps to improve the security of our fire stairwells and can assure our patients, staff and the public that they are safer now than they have ever been.

San Francisco General Hospital treats more than 100,000 patients and their families each year. We want our patients to have full confidence that in addition to excellent health care services, we will also provide for their safety and security when they are on our campus. We are doing everything that we can to assure that going forward.

 

Updates will continue to be posted here and on the SFGH Media Hotline, 415-206-3376, as information develops.

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