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Hospital accreditation agency seeks review of shooting outside University of Maryland Medical Center

Hospital accreditation agency seeks review of shooting outside University of Maryland Medical Center
Baltimore Police block off Penn Street at Lombard after the shooting of a 24-year-old employee outside the University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma in Baltimore on Feb. 4. (Jerry Jackson / The Baltimore Sun)

The agency that accredits the nation’s hospitals has asked the University of Maryland Medical Center for a review of the Feb. 4 shooting of an employee in the affiliated School of Medicine just outside the hospital.

The 24-year-old victim was near an ambulance bay off Redwood Street when he was shot in the face and buttocks by a man police say he knew. He was taken into the medical center’s Shock Trauma Center in critical condition, roiling both the university and hospital staffs as well as the larger Baltimore medical community.

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Hospital officials said they are conducting the review and will turn it over to the Joint Commission.

“We can confirm that the Joint Commission has contacted the University of Maryland Medical Center Downtown campus in regards to the tragic shooting that occurred on February 4 on a public city street and not on the hospital property,” said a statement from the hospital. “An internal UMMC review of the incident is underway, after which we will provide a detailed clarification and analysis to the Joint Commission for their review.”

The Joint Commission routinely asks hospitals for reviews after a report of a significant safety concern or a so-called sentinel event within a hospital. Sentinel events are unexpected occurrences that are unrelated to a patient’s illness that result in death or serious physical or psychological injury.

The independent panel typically asks hospitals to determine whether any changes are needed, and if any are identified, then or officials follow up to ensure they have been made.

About 70 percent of reports to the Joint Commission come from hospitals themselves, though the total number of events are not considered a comprehensive tally of all that goes seriously wrong in or around the facilities.

Based on the data the panel has collected, extreme violence within the 18,000 hospitals and other health care facilities with accreditation is not common.

Criminal acts that resulted in death or serious harm were the eighth-most-common type of sentinel event out of 30 categories reported to the commission in 2017, the latest year that data was available. They represented 37 of 805 events reported to the commission that year.

Sentinel events are more commonly surgical complications, falls, patient suicides, delays in treatment or other medical errors.

Outside of the Maryland hospital, campus police responsible for the grounds report that crime has been dropping. But officers have stepped up patrols since the shooting to calm any fears among those on the University of Maryland campus in West Baltimore where the hospital is located. A separate security force patrols inside the hospital, which operates independently from the university.

Because the shooting was outside, officials in the state’s Office of Health Care Quality, which investigates serious medical errors within the facilities, said the hospital need not report the incident to them.

Baltimore police have not identified the victim in the shooting, and the hospital declined to update his medical status. Police said in charging documents that the victim was in a relationship with the suspect, Jamar Haughton, a 26-year-old Baltimore man.

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