SF launches investigation at Laguna Honda after detection of non-prescribed drug in deceased patient


San Francisco Department of Health officials are launching an investigation at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center after an unprescribed drug was found in the system of a recently deceased patient, officials said Monday.

Few details are known about the patient, who city health officials said died this month, other than the person undergoing end-of-life treatment at a part of Laguna Honda that s ‘cares for people with behavioral problems.

The investigation comes more than a year after another abuse scandal rocked the establishment. Laguna Honda serves as a home hospital, nursing home and rehabilitation center for more than 700 patients.

The previous investigation found that 23 patients, living in wards primarily intended for people with dementia, experienced systemic physical and verbal abuse from six employees between 2016 and January 2019. Some of the patients reportedly received both prescriptions. . and over-the-counter drugs to put them to sleep.

Authorities have not said what drug was found in the patient’s system, or whether the substance was detected before or after the patient’s death. An autopsy is underway, officials said.

The Department of Public Health said in a statement Monday that “there was no suspected link between the non-prescribed drugs and the resident’s death,” although officials did not say what prompted them to draw this conclusion.

The hospital “is deeply committed to creating a safe environment for all of our residents,” said Michael Phillips, CEO of Laguna Honda, in a letter to residents and caretakers. He added that “our partner agencies at city and state level” would be involved in the investigation.

City health officials said oversight of medication dispensed to patients had been stepped up following the patient abuse scandal last year. Such policy changes have led the hospital to find the non-prescribed drugs in the patient’s system, health officials said.

Part of that review will include interviews with patients and staff, as well as “safety searches,” where patient rooms are checked for drugs or other items, according to the letter.

The investigation announced Monday marks the latest in a series of controversies at the hospital.

In 2017, the state health department fined Laguna Honda $ 100,000 for safety violations that resulted in the death of a patient. In 2014, another patient died after a member of hospital staff failed to properly lock the patient’s wheelchair and left him in front of a movie theater on a group outing. The wheelchair rolled, causing the patient to fall and head and hip injuries that would lead to his death two weeks later.

Michael Williams is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter @michaeldamianw

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