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MercyOne cited for failing to keep unstable patients safe

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Over the past 12 months, Iowa hospitals have been cited for dozens of violations, including a dirty surgical suite, patient abuse, inadequate staff, and discharging emergency-room patients with undiagnosed, life-threatening conditions.

In one instance, according to state records, Trinity Hospital in Bettendorf discharged a homeless, wheelchair-using veteran to the street, although the man had no phone, no destination and no transportation. Later that night, motorists spotted the man trying to merge into interstate traffic in his wheelchair.

MercyOne-Des Moines Medical Center was cited for a situation in June in which an intruder made his way into a neonatal intensive care unit, where he changed a baby’s diaper and fed the baby before being fleeing on foot when confronted by the staff.

Although most Iowa hospitals are inspected only by private accrediting organizations, some are inspected by the state as result of complaints or allegations that patients have been discharged from emergency rooms without first being stabilized.

President Biden , Takes Part in , Annual Turkey Pardon. President Biden , Takes Part in , Annual Turkey Pardon. 'The Independent' reports that United States President Joe Biden recently took part in one of the country's more bizarre presidential traditions: the annual turkey pardon. 'The Independent' reports that United States President Joe Biden recently took part in one of the country's more bizarre presidential traditions: the annual turkey pardon. Ahead of Thanksgiving every year, the president pardons a turkey, sparing it from the fate that millions of turkeys face in annual celebrations. Ahead of Thanksgiving every year, the president pardons a turkey, sparing it from the fate that millions of turkeys face in annual celebrations. This year, Biden pardoned two turkeys, Chocolate and Chip. CNN originally reported that the two birds were raised by National Turkey Foundation (NTF) chairman Ronnie Parker. CNN originally reported that the two birds were raised by National Turkey Foundation (NTF) chairman Ronnie Parker. Earlier in the weekend, the turkeys arrived in Washington D.C. where they spent the night in at the Willard Hotel. Earlier in the weekend, the turkeys arrived in Washington D.C. where they spent the night in at the Willard Hotel. According to 'The Independent,' American presidents have received turkeys as Thanksgiving gift since the 1870s, while the official tradition began in 1947. Ronald Reagan was the first president to spare the turkey, choosing to send it to a petting zoo or farm rather than eat it. Ronald Reagan was the first president to spare the turkey, choosing to send it to a petting zoo or farm rather than eat it. However, the annual pardon tradition was formally accepted under George HW Bush, who pardoned the turkey in response to protesting animal rights activists. However, the annual pardon tradition was formally accepted under George HW Bush, who pardoned the turkey in response to protesting animal rights activists. 'The Independent' reports that this year's pardoned birds will be retired to a new home on Iowa State University's campus. The turkeys will reportedly spend the rest of their lives in comfort, provided with clean bedding, heat, food and water in an indoor pavilion. The turkeys will reportedly spend the rest of their lives in comfort, provided with clean bedding, heat, food and water in an indoor pavilion

Among the violations cited by state inspectors at Iowa hospitals during the past 12 months, MercyOne-Waterloo Medical Center in Waterloo was cited in April for failing to ensure patients received care in a safe environment. In reviewing three patient files, inspectors concluded that in all three cases, the emergency department documented unstable behavioral health issues but failed to provide adequate supervision to prevent any attempts by the patients to harm themselves or others.

On April 9, two patients came to the hospital independently of each other, with each of them saying they wanted to kill themselves. Both were to be checked every 15 minutes, but the task was delegated by a nurse to a security guard. The guard was called away at one point, so the task reverted to the nursing staff, who failed to perform the checks for more than three hours. A nurse told inspectors that due to a shortage of staff the ER could not provide the required monitoring for suicidal patients. However, the inspector reviewed video footage that allegedly showed the nursing staff “randomly” walking around the department and attending to various tasks without ever checking on the two patients or looking at the video-monitor screens.

In December, the hospital was cited for its response to allegations of abuse. Inspectors reviewed the personnel file of a former security guard and found notations indicating that on Sept. 9, 2021, a staffer had alleged the security worker “applied closed-fist strikes to a patient.” A month later, the file indicated, the security worker was involved in an incident with a different patient and had “applied seven closed-fist strikes to the patient’s head.”

The security worker was fired at that point, but the hospital failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the incidents, inspectors said. Also, inspectors said, the hospital failed to do an adequate background check on the security worker before he was hired.

The Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a national 501©(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.

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