Health Care

Hospital staff circulated photos of patient's genital injury, investigation reveals

Hospital staff circulated photos of patient's genital injury, investigation reveals”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has cited a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospital where staff took cellphone photos and videos of a patient being treated for a "foreign body" lodged in their genitals. A second doctor was suspended for almost a month.

A worker had complained about a photo of a patient that was circulating within the hospital.

"There were so many people it looked like a cheerleader type pyramid", one witness told investigators, according to state records.

Apparently, a doctor in the room requested that the hospital's camera be used to take a photo of the injury for use in medical lectures. However, the health department wrote in its report, "Initially, we thought there was only one picture taken, but later we learned of others".

The incident allegedly happened in December when the unidentified patient went to the emergency room at UPMC Bedford. The camera was "just too complicated to use".

After the officials found that the camera was in ideal conditions, they went straight to the workers and asked them what happened. The employee told investigators the OR camera was broken, necessitating the use of "personal phones". However, they proceeded watching others taking more than one, so all of them continued doing the same.

The health department cited UPMC Bedford for multiple violations, including failing to protect the patient's confidentiality and privacy and for allowing people not involved in the patient's care into the OR. Its report makes no mention of financial penalties. One, an attending physician, was given a "letter of guidance" with the physician's hospital privileges suspended for seven days. Both doctor's identities remain confidential.

Still another admitted showing the picture to a spouse, according to the health department. The report highlighted the seriousness of a group of workers, who shouldn't have been at the room, passing that kind of material among them.

UPMC Bedford has been directed by the Health Department to take corrective measures, including reminding staff of hospital policies and having surgical staff go through a meeting on privacy and confidentially.

The statement said the health department approved the hospital's plans for corrections and that the patient involved in the incident has been notified.

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