Hospital doctor suspended following death of patient

By MARY MANN

THE death of a patient at the Tenterfield Hospital has led to the suspension of a GP and an investigation into Tenterfield Health Service.

Hunter New England Health (HNEH) has started an internal review of two recent serious clinical incidents at the hospital.

Acting chief executive of HNEH, Dr Nigel Lyons, said the incidents had involved the acute emergency care of two patients in the Emergency Department.

Patients and families identified as being involved have been advised of the review%process.

"Those people involved had serious and life-threatening illnesses and one patient did subsequently die as a result of their clinical condition," Dr Lyons said.

"We need to make sure that the care that was provided to that patient was appropriate, given the circumstances."

Dr Lyons said a first step of the process was the appointment of an emergency department specialist physician and critical care nurse to the hospital this week, providing support to Tenterfield's medical and nursing staff.

They would examine internal procedures at the Health Service in relation to clinical policies and relevant legislation, he said.

"Because of the seriousness of these incidents, and in accordance with standard procedures for investigating serious incidents, we have suspended the clinical privileges of one of the clinical staff at Tenterfield Health Service while the internal review is undertaken," Dr Lyons said.

"It is very early stages in this review process and it's important that no judgments or assumptions are made before the review is completed."

It was likely an external review team will be used once the internal review is completed to provide 'high level expertise' on clinical service delivery at the hospital, Dr Lyons said.



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