Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, asserted its commitment to eliminating medical errors in a statement on its Web site last week after a patient died of complications from a "tragic and preventable medical error," said Robert Caplan, medical director of quality at the 270-bed hospital.
According to the Associated Press, a technician mistakenly injected a 69-year-old woman with a toxic skin-cleaning antiseptic, rather than a harmless dye, during an operation two weeks ago.
Caplan said both fluids were clear. The hospital has replaced the skin cleanser with an antiseptic-infused swab.
"We have offered our heartfelt apologizes to the family of the patient," the hospital said in a statement on its Web site. "But perhaps the only way we can make our apology real is to do everything we can to prevent medical errors in our system. Those efforts start with admitting that we make errors -- as in this case, owning up to errors, learning from them and fixing the systems that allow them to happen."
Read the statement.