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Criminal Investigation Launched In Death Of Oakland Patient

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A female patient died early Saturday morning at an Oakland hospital in what officials are calling a “medical error” by a replacement nurse hired during a labor dispute.

The nurse allegedly gave the patient a dose of a non-prescribed medication at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. She died early Saturday morning.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

In a memo to staff this weekend, hospital CEO David Bradley admitted that a medical error was responsible for the death of the patient. The nurse was brought in from out-of-state as a fill-in, this after a one day strike at 34 hospitals in Northern and Central California hospitals by the California Nurses Association.

Martha Kuhl with the CNA said authorities had already been called ahead of time because the organization was concerned about the quality of replacement nurses.

“To work in some areas of the hospital, you need additional training, not just your licensure,” Kuhl said. “We were very worried when we started to hear those kinds of things so we contacted the appropriate authorities.”

The Oakland Police Department and Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are investigating the incident as is the state Department of Public Health.

Alta Bates Medical Center said all of its nurses are qualified and certified to do the job.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Jay Vee

    They should sue the Hospitol and the Nurses Union both for putting citizen;s at risk

    • jimmurray1946

      Nurses went out on strike for one day (thursday only) yet this happened when Alta Bates LOCKED out the regular nurses for FIVE DAYS following the ONE day walkout. How can you suggest the nurses union is at fault?

      • Jake

        The nurse’s union is at fault because they knew that by striking that the hospital had no choice but to hire replacement nurses. Since most nurses hired are from out of state it takes a lot of money to travel to CA so of course there has to be guaranteed work hours. By thinking otherwise you seem to indicate that you are very clueless as to how things work in real life.

    • Katie

      None of the nurse put any patient at risk. Strike or no strike hospitals bring in people from outside of the state all the time! It is up to the hospital to ensure that a person/nurse is qualified!

      • Guapi

        Yes, but when they all walk out at the same time it creates a highly stressful situation to get coverage… and therefore a wider margin for error. What if a major tragedy or natural disaster had occurred.

  • dbarco

    ANY per diem employee is unreliable!!! They don’t have a stake in their performance or the aftermath. In this case it seems the error was such that the death happened right after. How about all of the other patients who maybe received the wrong meds/dossages who will suffer non-lifethreatening
    effects perhaps for the rest of their lives? Nurses have a huge amount of responsibility and not a whole lot of clout. We need to make sure that they are
    properly compensated and not taken advantage of by corporate culture or
    political expediency.

  • canna

    How can a nurse even give the patient medicine that wasn’t prescibed by the attending physician! So it is more than an error. This person killed someone. It wasn’t just an error!! Manslaughter would be my charge!!

    • RN MD

      Don’t be to quick to judge… Mistakes do happen!

  • Guapi

    Great!!!! We lose a human life because a Union feels their “premium” benefits costs are too high. Nevermind they get free basic benefits. And the rest of us working schlubs cant walk out when our costs of living go up!

  • JaneQPublic

    Quote: “Alta Bates Medical Center said all of its nurses are qualified and certified to do the job.”

    Sure – IF that was the case, then this would appear to be deliberate MURDER then, wouldn’t it?

    As a member of the public, I ALWAYS recommend having an interested & knowledgeable friend or family member overseeing any medical visit to the hospital – preferably actually being present or making an unannounced visit when the patient is hospitalized. Too many mistakes, sloppy work, rushed/inadequate ‘informed’ consent forms, operating on the wrong side, etc., etc. happen. The medical system is FAR from infallable!

    You really do NEED an advocate at your bedside – ESPECIALLY when you are impaired.

  • Pamela

    This strike was not about “premium” benefits being taken away. I was about many of the basic benefits that these nurses were promised when hired they would receive. This was their pensions, and their medical coverage. Why should a nurse pay for their medical coverage in the place of their employ. Most every other worker gets a perk from their place of employment, be it in the form of a generous discount or some other significant service.

    In the nursing field there is the basic rule of verifying the 5 basic rights: right drug, right dose, right route, right time and right patient. It MUST be done on every patient, every time a drug is being given. Obviously this was not done

  • Guapi

    What is a pension if not a “Premium Benefit”. And medical coverage is already included in the basic benefits. Most companies are cutting back now so they can keep the doors open, which also means keeping people employeed. (Nevermind that trillions spent on phony green jobs should have been sent to tried and true businesses (and hospitals) in which case we would not be having this argument.

    Now, if the nurses (i.e. the once who are most familiar with THE PATIENTS) had not walked off because their Union told them to… then the unnecessary death would have been avoided. But let’s be honest, money is more important than people.

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  • fulano

    Guapi – “trillions” spent on green jobs? on what planet do you live?

  • Guapi

    Planet Earth where I expect not to die in a hospital because the Nurses Union wants more money. Ok, so I erred in saying “Trillions”. Does it really make anyone feel better to use the more accurate word “Billions”???

    “Oh thank goodness!!! Only BILLIONS were flushed down the pooper by Obama and his cronies”!!! Whew… I feel SOOOO much better now.

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