Patient death spurs Oregon hospital to suspend in-person visits

Salem-based Oregon State Hospital has suspended in-person visits following a patient's death, suspected to be caused by a fentanyl overdose, the Oregon Capital Chronicle reported May 26.

The event follows a series of patient safety-related events, including an immediate jeopardy citation the facility received earlier in May from CMS that resulted from a recent inspection.

The inspection identified deficiencies in areas including where its code blue equipment was stored but also "staff presence in the milieu; quality of incident investigation and response, including required clinical documentation; patient grievance response; and training and competency verification," OSH reported in a May 3 news release, wherein it said a plan of corrective action was in the works to address the issues.

However, now following the most recent safety incident that may have resulted in a patient's death, the hospital will pause in-person visits to patients.

"Because of a significant incident related to passing of contraband from a visitor to a patient, we are pausing in-person visitation effective immediately,"  Sara Walker, the hospital's interim superintendent, wrote in an internal email obtained by the Oregon Capital Chronicle.

The pause will be "as short as we can," the email stated.

Police confirmed to the Oregon Capital Chronicle that the patient died of a suspected fentanyl overdose.

Becker's reached out to the Oregon Health Authority to request comment on the new situation at the state hospital. This story will be updated if more information becomes available.

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