A former surgical technician at the hospital recently admitted to taking syringes of fentanyl meant for patients in the operating room and replacing them with saline. As a result, thousands of patients may have been exposed to blood-borne diseases, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. In the aftermath of the discovery, the hospital contacted patients and offered them free blood testing to ensure they were not infected by the employee’s stolen drugs. The results of the blood testing have thus far been negative. District Court Judge Lemon ruled that the possible exposure to these dangerous diseases was sufficient injury to continue the class action against Swedish Medical Center.
The lawsuit alleges that the hospital violated state and federal laws regarding how hospitals must prescribe, handle, and dispense fentanyl. It also alleges that the hospital failed to ensure that eligible low-income residents received the charity care discounts they are entitled to under Washington law. The lawsuit was filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Swedish Medical Center is a chain of 22 hospitals across the state of Washington, from Seattle to Spokane and Walla Walla. They reported total revenues of $18 billion in 2022.
In June of 2014, an employee at one of the hospitals was arrested on drug-related charges. The employee, Rocky Allen, had a lengthy history of drug-related criminal activity before his arrest. He had previously been fired from at least five health care facilities and had a long-documented record of thefts of narcotics and other prescription medications. He was also court-martialed and dishonorably discharged from the Navy for similar drug-related crimes.
While the incident at this hospital is clearly very serious, it is difficult to know exactly what went wrong. Unless someone witnessed the mistake and was willing to testify about it, or the Swedish Medical Center Malpractice Lawyer error was so egregious that it was presumed to be the result of negligence a claim known as res ipsa loquitur, the reasons for a bad outcome are often unclear.
Daniel Morris sued the hospital and HRN Services Inc. for malpractice, claiming that they were negligent in the post-surgical management of his hematoma. The complaint attached a certificate of merit from an anesthesiologist stating that there was a reasonable basis to believe that the defendants’ conduct was not in accordance with the standard of care.
The hospital argued that the certificate of merit only applied to the treatment given to Morris before his surgery and did not apply to the care provided after his surgery. It further argued that the certificate only applied to Morris and did not extend to his spouse, who was also a patient at Swedish Medical Center for his hematoma.