San Francisco health officials have walked back an assertion made last week that a Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital official provided inaccurate information about the number of patients impacted by Laguna Honda Hospital patient abuse scandal.

City supervisors on the Government and Audits Committee held a hearing Wednesday to receive updates on the matter from Troy Williams, chief quality officer for ZSFGH. Williams told board members that the investigation uncovered a total of 130 patients who were victimized in varying degrees, as previously reported by SFBay.

When city officials first announced the patient abuse scandal in late June, it was said that only 23 patients were involved.

In a message to SFBay, Brent Andrew, chief communications officer for ZSFGH who was handling Laguna Honda media inquiries, wrote that Williams “misspoke” during the hearing and meant to say that 130 “incidents” were discovered, which in his words did not impact “many more patients” than what was originally reported. He requested SFBay make a correction Thursday. However, Andrew did not respond to several attempts by SFBay to clarify the actual number of patients.

<a>Peter Kaminski</a>/Flickr

The article was carefully revised and noted to document the communication with Andrew and the requested details he failed to provide.

The San Francisco Examiner reported Friday that Williams did not misspeak at the hearing and that 130 individual patients were in fact impacted.

SFBay made several attempts to contact Andrew since Friday, but he has yet to return any phone calls or emails. An inquiry was made with the Department of Public Health for further information and explanation as to why Andrew contradicted Williams in his communication with SFBay. Those questions remain unanswered.

However, Andrew did contact the Examiner and conceded that 130 patients were indeed affected by the Laguna Honda scandal. 

He told the Examiner that approximately 30 patients were victims of abuse in the form of “chemical restraint, sexual or sexually-related abuse, physical or verbal abuse.”

Additionally, 25 patients were photographed or were visible in the background of photographs and approximately 75 other patients had their names disclosed in recordings. Both are privacy breaches.

Laguna Honda has already paid $780,000 in state-issued fines related to the discovered abuse and Williams said he expects more fines to come in light of the additional cases.

After implementing corrective actions identified by the California Department of Public Health, Acting CEO Margaret Rykowski of Laguna Honda told supervisors that the hospital was in state regulation compliance as of Oct. 15.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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