Two Maine hospitals are listed on a federal government website that tracks the most serious quality deficiencies cited in the past six months. As the Bangor Daily News first reported this week, Maine Medical Center and York Hospital were both identified for patient safety issues.
According to reports from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, there were two incidents of patient abuse at Maine Medical Center last summer.
In July, a security officer was allegedly struck by a patient with a mental illness being placed in a restraint. The officer responded by striking the patient several times, and continued to work for six hours before being placed on leave.
In another incident in August, an 83-year old patient with dementia spat out medication and punched the nurse administering it. The nurse called the patient an expletive and punched their rib area.
Maine Medical Center spokesperson Clay Holtzman says in a written statement that the two staff members are no longer employed at the hospital, and that Maine Med has enhanced its training on de-escalation techniques. Holtzman also notes that health care institutions across the United States are facing "an epidemic of violence against health care staff" and that public awareness is critical to ensure these institutions are places of healing.
York Hospital was also cited for two incidents involving patient safety. One involved a vascular surgeon who performed an operation but was unlicensed in Maine. Hospital spokesperson Jody Merrill says the surgeon practiced in New Hampshire and was called in for an emergency.
"They are licensed in a state which is a mere few minutes away from Maine. So they were able to come in for the emergent case and they were able to perform a life-saving procedure. The patient had an excellent outcome, and it was really in thanks for the provider doing what was ethically best for the patient."
The other incident at York Hospital involved the father of a patient who took part in his daughter's C-section. The father, who was a physician but not licensed in Maine, reportedly held retractors at the incision site and suctioned the baby's nose. Merrill says that situation was at the request of the patient.
"The staff was able to oversee and ensure that the care felt appropriate and in compliance with the patient's wishes."
Merrill says that York Hospital has taken definitive steps to ensure that these situations, although they produced positive patient outcomes, don't occur again.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now list both hospitals' deficiencies as corrected.