The Hospital of Saint Raphael, New Haven, Conn., agreed to pay $250,000 -- reportedly a record amount -- to settle a state investigation into two patient deaths last winter. Two women suffocated while undergoing cardiac catheterizations at the 464-bed hospital because their oxygen masks were mistakenly hooked to nitrous gas. In addition to the fine, Saint Raphael has agreed to terms to improve patient care and safety, the state Department of Public Health said. Hospital officials said in a written statement that they took immediate corrective actions in January, when the deaths occurred, and have since worked with a variety of regulatory agencies. "The voluntary consent agreement with the state is another step in this process. Nothing will minimize the unfortunate deaths of these two patients, whose families continue to be in our thoughts and prayers," the officials said. -- by Cinda Becker
Conn. hospital settles patient deaths investigation
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