Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Blooper at Children’s

The health department of the City of Boston recently sent a letter to Children’s Hospital Boston, chiding it for failing to report an outbreak of whooping cough last September that eventually sickened 33 hospital employees.

Although state law requires that such events be reported within 24 hours, the Boston health authorities did not learn of it until several weeks later, and then by accident (The Boston Globe, November 28, 2006).

There was no report of any apology on Children’s part. A spokesperson assured reporters that the hospital was taking steps to strengthen its reporting procedures.

The requirement that infectious disease outbreaks be reported to public health authorities has been around for as long as anyone can remember and ought to be routine. It is a sad commentary that a hospital like Children’s is so loosely managed that such a thing could happen.

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