Pharmacy

I-Team questions hospitals in North Texas on safety, security of IV bags

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The federal investigation into Dr. Raynaldo Ortiz and allegations of tampering with IV bags harming patients raise questions about the safety and security of IV bags and medications in our local hospitals.

In September, the US Food and Drug Administration told the I-Team that “infusion bags are not tamper-evident” and that they are not “tamper evident.”

So the I-Team contacted seven hospitals in North Texas to find out what they’re doing to keep the IV bags and their patients safe.

QUESTIONS FOR HOSPITALS

In emails to hospitals, we asked the following questions:

  1. What precautions are taken to ensure they are safely unpacked and stored safely for use when IV bags arrive at your hospital?
  2. Who has access to the bags?
  3. What background and reference checks are performed on personnel with access to IV bags? How often are those background and reference checks required?
  4. How are your IV bags and medicines monitored and sight-monitored? (doctors, nurses, security guards, surveillance cameras, etc…?)
  5. Are the above security measures federal and/or state requirements? Or does your hospital set its own standards?
  6. In light of the recent incident at a surgery center in North Dallas, what additional precautions, if any, has your hospital taken to ensure the integrity of all IV bags?
  7. What type of IV bags are used in your facility? Can you give the name of the manufacturer(s)?

None of the hospitals specifically answered our individual questions.

Only three responded to our emails:

Response from JPS Health Network

“At JPS Health Network, IV fluids are stored in clean supply rooms. These areas are locked and the employees on that floor can access them only through badge access. All storage and work areas have surveillance cameras. The Texas State Board of Pharmacy requires registration of both pharmacists as well as technicians. All JPS employees are provided with a background screen with criminal history, including license verifications, prior to the start date.”

Response from Medical City Health

“Our hospitals follow all state and federal guidelines and have robust security procedures for preparing, storing, documenting and distributing medications and supplies. Patient safety is our top priority. I hope you understand, for safety and security we do not share details publicly to maintain the integrity of our processes.”

Response from Baylor Scott and White Health

“We are committed to providing safe, high-quality care and there is nothing more important than the well-being of those we serve. We remain committed to assisting authorities, so we will continue to limit our comments appropriately.”

HOSPITALS THAT DO NOT ANSWER

Although the I-Team has repeatedly asked for weeks, the following hospitals in North Texas have never responded to our requests for answers:

Texas Health Resources
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Methodist Medical Center
Parkland Health

HOW DO YOU CHECK A HOSPITAL?

The Joint Commission is an accrediting and certifying body for healthcare institutions. Membership is voluntary. The commission started in 1951. It states that it certifies more than 20,000 medical facilities across the country. You can search the member facilities here.

The site has a key with four rankings:

— A gold star is the highest.

–“Above target range rating.”

–“Similar to the target range” rating

–“Below Target Range” is the lowest ranking.

According to the latest findings from the Joint Commission, Baylor Scott and White Surgicare in North Dallas currently has an assessment “comparable to target range.”

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