Man Dies, Family Not Told, Body Goes Missing...Could This Be Your Hospital or Nursing Home?
A Washington Post article that ran over the holiday weekend told the story of an elderly man who died at United Medical Center, a public hospital with a troubled reputation that operates in one of the poorest areas of the nation's capital. You hate to say or write "comedy of errors" when talking about the death of another human being and how the family was treated, but, I'm not sure how else the story can be summarized. Allegedly, the family wasn't notified of the death and only found out a week later when a few family members stopped by to visit. Then, the investigation was bungled, and the body went missing without the family even seeing their deceased relative. Ouch!
I know, I know....public hospital in a poor section of town. I can almost hear many readers saying to themselves, "Boy, glad that's not us!" Or is it? Read the story and ask yourself could this happen at your nice, shiny hospital or nursing home. I've been in and out of many nice hospitals and nursing homes in wealthy and even ritzy suburbs that have one or more of the deficiencies illuminated by the good folks at the Washington Post. Poor communication with families. Untrained and un-empowered staff unable to effectively work with families following adverse events. No one takes ownership of the problem and follow through is non-existent. Staff and leadership not working together effectively when the poop hits the fan. And the list goes on...
And here's the kicker....it's one thing when a poor, public hospital screws up....almost expected. Sadly, this story is already lining bird cages and wrapping dead fish. But, what will public think when it happens at your hospital or nursing home?
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Doug Wojcieszak, Founder, Sorry Works!, 618-559-8168