Report: College student shadowing Cortland doctor helped intubate patient

CORTLAND, N.Y. – A doctor at Cortland Regional Medical Center allowed a college student who was job shadowing assist him in intubating a patient, according to a new report.

The incident, which happened July 31, 2014, was reported by a hospital employee to management and later investigated by state inspectors on behalf of the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The doctor used a laryngoscope to open the patient’s airway while the student put the tube into the patient’s trachea, according to Syracuse.com.

Hospital spokeswoman Lauren Mossotti-Kline declined to comment on the nature of the medical procedure, only saying that it “resulted in a breach in protocol.”

Individuals who shadow doctors or health care professionals are not permitted to provide direct patient care, according to the hospital’s website.

She said the hospital has since revised its policies to ensure that no outside observers are allowed to have contact with patients.

“The medical center is also now contracted with a team of experts specializing in the area of Anesthesia,” Mossotti-Kline said.

Here’s the hospital’s full statement:

Eleven months ago, an incident occurred at Cortland Regional Medical Center which resulted in a breach in protocol. Like many hospitals, these lapses occur and we address them to the best of our ability. The incident did not cause harm to a patient but we responded by speaking with the individuals involved immediately. In order to respect the privacy of the patients as well as our medical staff, we can only mention that a college student observing a routine procedure participated in a manner that is not consistent with our hospital policy.

Since that time, disciplinary action was taken, reporting relationships were revised and policies and procedures have been updated in complete compliance with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ regulations according to a follow-up survey by the New York State Department of Health. Additionally, the medical center is also now contracted with a team of experts specializing in the area of Anesthesia. We recognized the fault in the system and all of these measures were put in place to ensure that an incident such as this would never happen again. Cortland Regional Medical Center is continually committed to enhancing our regulatory compliance and patient safety measures.


 

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