CHARLESTON, W.Va.-Wheeling Hospital has agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it failed to treat a pregnant woman for a bacterial infection that left her infant son severely brain-damaged. The obstetrician who failed to give antibiotics to Laura Kriner when she was in labor also agreed to pay the family $750,000. When Kriner went into labor, no one at Wheeling recognized she had earlier tested positive for a bacteria called Group B streptococcus. As a result, Kriner did not receive a common antibiotic that could have prevented the transmission of the bacteria to her child in the birth canal. The newborn became severely ill and now, at 21/2 years old, cannot walk, see or communicate. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta last spring advised obstetricians to give penicillin to all women at risk of carrying the bacteria.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va.-Newport News General Hospital closed its 30-bed psychiatric ward and cut emergency room hours to help reduce costs and pay off debt. The psychiatric ward will remain closed for at least 30 to 90 days. The emergency room will close from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., during which time the hospital won't offer cardiopulmonary or X-ray services. The emergency room had been open 24 hours a day for the past year after nearly six years of reduced hours. The hospital also has reduced almost all its 80 part-time positions in recent months and cut the salaries of half its 100 full-time employees. Officials said the measures aren't a sign the hospital plans to close; rather, they are needed to help the hospital earn an $11,000 profit each month instead of losing four times as much and to repay some $1.3 million to suppliers.
JACKSONVILLE, Texas-In a move that could lead to a full-asset merger, East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, Tyler, has signed a $31 million agreement to lease 123-bed Nan Travis Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville for five years. The deal calls for the system to commit $31 million to the hospital and its related projects in the next five years. "If terms of the lease are met, it turns into a merger," said Mike Thomas, system vice president of strategic planning and marketing. Nan Travis' board members approved the deal April 28.