Healthcare facilities are expected to be hallmarks of cleanliness to prevent the spread of diseases and infections, but recent reports reveal that the Detroit Medical Center’s Harper University Hospital failed to maintain sanitary conditions for its patients. News outlets throughout Michigan are buzzing with the discovery of appalling conditions in some of the most critical areas of the hospital.


Startling Discoveries

According to Crain’s Detroit Business and other media sources, Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) visited the DMC in October after fielding complaints from physicians and staff that the hospital was not maintaining sterile conditions.

Among the issues identified both during and prior to the October inspection:

  • A black bug insect infestation in the ICU
  • Spills, dirt, and debris in the kitchen area and a black substance on the floor near the grill
  • A tray of sterile surgical instruments improperly stored in the labor and delivery area
  • Storage drawers littered with dust and crumbs
  • An ICU patient with a catheter bag hanging from the side of the bed frame and touching the floor
  • Improper management of surgical tools in the high-risk labor and delivery rooms

The Detroit News reported in 2016 that properly maintaining surgical equipment had been a problem at the DMC for more than a decade, and the recent investigation revealed that these conditions have not improved.

Because of LARA’s findings, federal regulators are threatening to end federal funding and terminate Medicare due to lack of protection for the health and safety of the hospital’s patients. Health officials plan to make another surprise visit in the coming weeks to better determine if consequences are appropriate for the hospital. The hospital produced a lengthy response, promising improvements to quality control and cleanliness, but the Department of Health will determine if the changes are enough to correct the errors in protocol.

Hospital Infections Pose the Greatest Threat

Though the above conditions are startling, more concerning is that the lack of cleanliness poses a heightened risk of hospital-induced infections. The federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services reviewed the inspection reports and cited the hospital for failure to comply with three infection-control standards, based on over two dozen reported incidents.

Hospital infections are among the deadliest side effects of an unsanitary healthcare facility. Common hospital infections include severe bouts of pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and other potentially fatal illnesses. Each year, many patients contract these deadly infections while hospitalized, resulting in extended stays, other illnesses, or even death.

When conditions at a hospital only make a loved one sicker, it’s time to consult a medical malpractice attorney. The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Medical Malpractice Litigation Group are available to help – contact us today.


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