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WASHINGTON — Greater Southeast Community Hospital in Washington D.C. had been stripped of its national accreditation, dropped by medical insurance companies and was being investigated for six “preventable” patient deaths between 2002 and 2003.
But over the last year, hospital administrators have been working to turn the medical center around.
Krasker came to Southeast as a medical detective of sorts, trying to determine what was going wrong. He found, for example, that the system for matching blood types to patients was faulty. Three patients had died at the hospital because they had received the wrong blood type. Nurses, Krasker concluded, had incorrectly labeled patients’ blood samples, prompting him to institute standardized rules.
“What I found at Greater Southeast — and what appears to be a problem at King Drew — is that essential safe practices of healthcare were generally lacking,” he said.
Both hospitals were founded in predominantly black neighborhoods, where many residents feel their healthcare needs have long been neglected. Both have struggled to provide proper care to the streams of patients that sometimes overwhelm the facilities.
“There were people telling me that I hated black people,” said Walks, who is African American.
(Posted on November 29, 2004)