Town & Country Hospital ordered to suspend surgeries after patient deaths

6:43 PM, Nov 9, 2012   |    comments
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Town & Country hospital investigated after three patients died in October 2012



Tampa, FL -- The s investigating Town & Country Hospital after three patients died there last month.

They also ordered the medical facility not to take on any new surgical patients until the agency is satisfied the hospital has its nursing staff up to speed. Though, just after 6 p.m. Friday, the hospital reportedly received word from the state agency that they do have adequate nursing staff to take on new surgeries.

10 News recently got a tip about staffing issues at Town & Country Hospital. At the time, we were told it had something to do with the number of Registered Nurses.

But the hospital made no mention, at the time, of the deaths of three patients during the month of October, which were specifically cited in a regulatory report.

"Oh no, we didn't know about that," said Blanca Franco, outside the hospital.

The Franco's were shocked and concerned to learn about the state's Agency for Healthcare Administration, or AHCA, banning any new surgery admissions here until the medical facility can deal with inadequate nursing staff issues.

It's a problem which, according to the agency's report, puts "patients and prospective patients of the medical surgery units at an immediate risk."

In the 15 page report, AHCA points to three patients who died at the hospital last month, and does not ID them by name, but rather by numbers 7, 8 and 11.

There's a stroke patient. Another with chest pains, and the third severely constipated.

All three, according to the report, had inadequate nursing instructions, assessments, or documentation.

The report stops short of concluding those patients could have been saved with better staffing, but says the staffing conditions at the time, "present a threat to the health, safety and welfare" of Town & Country's patients.

Ariel Franco was concerned after speaking with workers there today.

"I will need a surgery and I am talking with this doctor and maybe he's going to send me to another place," he said.

At 67, Franco says he may need hernia surgery.

But he was told by Town & Country this morning he may have to go to University Hospital instead, which he'd prefer not to do.

"Yeah, because we live very close to this hospital, you know? And my doctor is in this hospital, you know? And I don't want to go all the way to another hospital many miles from my apartment," he said.

The temporary ban on new surgical patients did not affect current patients, or prevent Town & Country from taking Emergency Room cases or intensive care patients.

In a written statement earlier today, CEO Dale Johns said the hospital "submitted a corrective plan and is waiting for the state's approval and lifting of the moratorium."

The Hospital, he said, is "bringing all necessary resources to fully respond to its requirements."

A hospital spokesperson says they fully implemented the state's recommendations almost immediately, and that state workers have been at Town & Country all day re-evaluating the hospital's staffing.

As mentioned above, the state agency has since lifted the moratorium after declaring the hospital's nursing staff is up to speed.

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