Al Harman was a patient in Ross Community Hospital for a ruptured appendix which resulted in an appendectomy and 4 weeks of intensive antibiotic therapy. The severity of Mr. Harman’s condition was exacerbated by his obesity and the length of time from his first symptom and when he sought care. During his stay he complained to the charge nurse that he was not receiving an adequate dose of antibiotics which was the cause of his infection and the length of his stay in the hospital. The charge nurse followed the hospitals risk management procedure, objectively documented the patient’s complaint in the patient’s record, and completed an incident report.
If a lawsuit is subsequently brought against the hospital, what role does the patient’s record play in this situation?
Decide whether the incident report would or would not be subject to discovery by Mr. Harman’s attorney.
Judge whether this incident represents a sentinel event as defined by The Joint Commission.