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State: York Hospital 'failed to maintain a safe environment' before patient's death

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
File photo of WellSpan York Hospital, Tuesday, December 31, 2018.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The state Department of Health has found that WellSpan York Hospital was not compliant with safety requirements before a patient's death in October.

According to a report from the department, a review of facility documents, medical records and staff interviews found that facility staff "failed to maintain a safe environment for the patient's condition."

On Oct. 17, the patient's oxygen levels decreased from 77% to 0%, and their heart rate decreased from 109 beats per minute to 28 in less than 30 minutes. However, no evidence exists that staff informed nursing staff or medical staff of the alarming vital signs, the report reads.

Ryan Coyle, a spokesman for WellSpan, said the patient who died was "a fragile patient who was seriously ill and had complex medical conditions."

"In response to this incident, our teams have implemented enhanced reporting processes and protocols between nurses, technicians and physicians when monitoring patients with serious and complex conditions," Coyle said. "This incident was unique, and our improvement efforts were specific to addressing those unique findings."

Coyle said WellSpan's improvement plan has been approved by the state Department of Health.

The state Department of Health will not be imposing any sanctions or fines against WellSpan at this time, according to department spokesman Nate Wardle.

— Reach Tina Locurto at or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.