Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Friends Hospital Cited in Patient Assault, Secret Taping
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A Philadelphia behavioral hospital videotaped patients without their consent and captured one of those patient being assaulted twice within a matter of minutes.
In a lengthy report, inspectors from the Pennsylvania Health Department found the violations during a four day visit to Friends Hospital, a facility that has been the subject of prior critical reports from the state agency. Though it was founded as a Quaker institution, the hospital is now owned by a for-profit chain, Universal Health Services.
The report was made public last week even though the hospital had not yet filed an approved plan of correction. Friends officials did not respond to requests for comment.
"The facility failed to protect and promote the rights of each patient by failing to ensure that informed consent was obtained prior to the video recording of direct patient care," the report states.
Despite the widespread use of cameras, inspectors learned that there were no viewing monitors for staff to monitor patient safety.
All patients and staff, the report states, were under constant camera surveillance. The surveyors found "multiple ceiling mounted cameras dispersed through out patient care areas."
A subsequent review of patient records showed a patient who was admitted to the facility on March 24 had not signed a consent to video surveillance.
Video showed the same patient being kicked by two of his peers on March 31. The patient was "taken down to the floor and the other two punched his face with hands and feet."
A second assault on the same patient occurred minutes later, according to the report.
Records showed the patient had swelling over his right eye and had substantial nose bleeding.
As for the cameras, the report states, patients who don't sign the consent form are "still recorded through out their hospital stay without their explicit consent or knowledge."
The surveyors also found that records of the incident were inaccurate.
The facility "failed to ensure patient care was provided in a safe setting," the report concludes.
Other findings involving a second patient who was so heavily sedated she could barely sit up.
"Patient was asleep and barely rousable in the day room," according to the report.
Still other findings included the improper use of physical and chemical restraints. Staffers also failed to recheck the blood pressure of a patient who had a seriously low pressure in a routine check and those same staffers failed to notify the patient's physician of the reading.