Hospital Halts Elective Surgery

Mission Hospital has temporarily suspended elective surgery after an outbreak of infection.
Mission Hospital has temporarily suspended elective surgery after an outbreak of infection.

Out of an “abundance of caution,” the chief executive of Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach and Mission Viejo on Friday temporarily suspended elective surgeries at both campuses.

Meanwhile, nurses at St. Joseph’s hospital in Orange, operated by the health system that also owns Mission Hospital, publicly called on hospital management to take immediate measures to ensure the health and safety of nurses who may be confronting Ebola patients.

While no cases of Ebola have been detected in California, the hospital has failed to enact adequate measures to protect against Ebola, the nurses said in a statement issued by the California Nurses Assoc., which does not represent St. Joe nurses.

Chief Executive Kenn McFarland said the operating room closure came after four patients developed infections after surgeries in one operating room in Mission Viejo and a review of its operating room procedures by the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 15,000 health care organizations. The oversight agency apparently issued a preliminary denial of accreditation to the hospital, which must come into compliance soon.

The patients were treated with antibiotics and recovered, McFarland said. “Keeping patients safe will continue to be our utmost concern and we are taking all actions to ensure a safe environment,” he said in a statement released to the Laguna Beach hospital advisory committee. Some patients have been rescheduled at St. Joseph in Orange, he said.

While hospital officials told the Indy this week that the Mission Hospital staff is prepared to deal with infectious diseases, St. Joseph nurses contested that view and say the campus in Orange is not prepared to deal with Ebola, the union statement says.

“RNs are not looking for platitudes or future plans, but immediate action now to protect the lives of RNs and patients,” the statement released Friday said.

“We believe management should listen to the caregivers and enact these standards now, for the good of RNs, other healthcare workers and the patients in our community,” said the statement by nurse Marlene Tucay, in the medical tele unit of St. Joseph Hospital.

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