SALEM -- Some mistakes made by hospital staff members are now available online in a searchable database of medical facilities nationwide.
As first reported in the Salem Statesman Journal, one such mistake resulted in 18 patients at St. Charles Medical Center in Bend receiving colonoscopies with equipment that was not disinfected.
A nurse at Portland's Legacy Emanuel Medical Center hooked a patient's nasal tube up to oxygen, instead of the suction required to remove an obstruction, resulting in the patient's cardiac arrest. The nurse then failed to report the error to physicians. The patient died two days later.
Such mistakes have long been reported, but the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are now required to release those reports. The Association of Health Care Journalists pushed for the transparency, and has put the reports together in a searchable public database.
Reports also include an eye surgery preformed on the wrong eye, and an employee who was fired for posting pictures of patients' buttocks online. Incidents like that are generally isolated, but when viewed in a larger context can empower patients, said Jason McNichol, president of Health Advocacy Solutions.
"It also gives hospitals an incentive to do the right thing because the more accountability and transparency there is, the more incentive there is for hospitals to clean up mistakes and problems when they see them," he said.
The database only covers hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments. In Oregon this includes the major hospitals in the Portland area.
The Oregon hospitals with the most violations listed are Curry General Hospital, with 12, and Salem Hospital, with nine.