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Josie King, an 18-month-old girl, died as a result of a hospital error in 2002 in Baltimore, Md. After her death, Sorrell King, her mother, became her advocate and began speaking up in every forum possible. Because of her diligence to this cause, hospitals across the country are implementing Code H. Baptist Hospital Northeast implemented Code H on Oct. 1.
How it works
All patients and families are given information and guidelines regarding Code H with a phone number for calling the rapid response team. The telephone number is a direct line specifically designated for this cause. The number is extension 6868 from inside the hospital, and 222-6868 from outside the building. The switchboard operator answering the call determines if a team is needed, then calls Code H over the public address system three times. A rapid response team arrives at the patient’s bedside moments later.
The admitting nurse gives patients and families guidelines that state a Code H call should be made:
If a noticeable change in the patient’s condition occurs and the healthcare team isn’t responsive to either the change itself or to patient and family concerns.
If there is a breakdown in how care is being given or confusion over what needs to be done.
If both of these occur.
“Our goal is to involve families and patients more substantially in patient care, so as to minimize the likelihood of errors such as those that led to tragedy for the King family,” said Lynn Rigon, executive director of Patient Services. “Studies have shown that most Code H’s are called for valid reasons and patients’ and families’ fears can be put to rest.”