You may have heard or read stories about a patient passing away following a colonoscopy last week at Beaumont, Royal Oak. We mourn the loss of our patient, and Beaumont Health has extended our deepest sympathy to his family.
Strict privacy laws prohibit us from revealing information about a patient, unless we receive permission from the family. We are deeply saddened that a few individuals have apparently shared information, including false information, about this patient in direct violation of Beaumont policies, the ethics of their profession, and federal and state privacy laws. They have created unnecessary and unfounded anxiety in our community. Further, given our absolute commitment to patient confidentiality, we are unable to publicly correct any false information with the real facts without disclosing patient specific information.
Safety remains our top priority and we have numerous robust safety protocols and policies in place. Nothing is more important than the quality and safety of our patient care. Nothing. After learning of this occurrence, we immediately launched our in-depth, objective clinical peer review process. All patients are unique, and we investigate every case on an individual basis to understand all the contributing factors. This thorough peer review process allows our medical team of experts to discuss, evaluate and scrutinize the patient’s care in great detail to identify opportunities to learn from challenging situations and implement any changes that are warranted. This process began immediately after the patient passed away last week and prior to any information being publicly disclosed.
As we have reviewed the specifics of the patient’s care to date, we have unfortunately determined some of our staff members might have inappropriately accessed the patient’s medical record. We are again deeply troubled that a few individuals released protected health information from the patient’s private medical record and shared it with others. That is not who we are, and this behavior is never tolerated at Beaumont. We are investigating this breach of confidentiality and we will appropriately deal with those who have violated privacy policies and laws. We encourage you to report all safety concerns through our secure online quality and safety reporting system which is reviewed and acted on daily. You are also encouraged to report any safety concerns to a department leader or any one of us.
The Beaumont name is synonymous with quality and safety because of all of you. Our talented and highly competent anesthesiologists and CRNAs have always provided excellent service to Beaumont patients for years and we celebrate them as heroes, particularly throughout the pandemic. Our new anesthesia management company, NorthStar, successfully retained the majority of our CRNAs and anesthesiologists who had previously taken care of our patients. Many have been part of Beaumont for decades. The qualifications of our anesthesiologists and CRNAs remain high and have not changed from prior years.
Our physician leadership rigorously scrutinizes any and all physicians and CRNAs who apply for Beaumont staff privileges. Before allowing any physician or CRNA to practice at Beaumont, we conduct a robust quality credentialing process, which includes an extensive background check, evaluation of patient care history, assessment of academic credentials and review of any legal actions. This is the same process which every member of our medical staff and advanced practice provider staff has undergone. We remain fully confident in the care delivered by our anesthesiologists and CRNAs. We have not relaxed our expectations for providing excellent care, and those expectations will govern our investigation and any future actions.
We understand it is upsetting to read troubling stories about our patients, especially with false information. Our medical teams do phenomenal work every day and save countless lives. You are all heroes and we are proud to work with you to deliver compassionate, extraordinary care every day.
Donald Barkel, M.D., Medical Director of Endoscopy, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
Jeffrey Ditkoff, M.D., Patient Safety Officer, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
Barbara Ducatman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
Mark Frikker, M.D., Chief of Surgical Services, and Chair of the Credentials and Qualifications Committee, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
Michael McCue, M.D., Interim Chief of Anesthesiology, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
James Robbins, M.D., President of the Medical Staff, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak Medical Staff
Anne Stewart, R.N., Chief Nursing Officer, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
Nancy Susick, R.N., President, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak