March 3, 1998 in City

Report Clears Hospital In 3-Day-Old’s Death Doctor Has Acknowledged Blocking Infant’s Breathing

James Burke Associated Press
 
Tags:ethics

A Port Angeles hospital followed proper procedures in responding to an infant’s death in the emergency room, state Department of Health investigators said Monday.

Their report cleared Olympic Memorial Hospital of any wrongdoing in the death of 3-day-old Conor Shamus McInnerney.

Investigators acknowledged that they did not ask whether the hospital should have reported the baby’s death to law enforcement authorities within 48 hours, which may have been required by state law.

Rather than report the case to law enforcement, administrators turned to the medical commission for more guidance, said John Wolfe, the hospital’s attorney.

“It was the belief of the hospital that this was a medical practice or ethics issue, as opposed to a criminal issue,” Wolfe said.

Conor stopped breathing at home on Jan. 12 and eventually was pronounced dead twice that night in the emergency room.

The pediatrician who led efforts to revive the child, Dr. Eugene F. Turner, has acknowledged that he blocked the baby’s breathing after the baby was declared brain-dead.

Turner had not yet responded Monday to charges of unprofessional conduct filed by the state Medical Quality Assurance Commission.

Police investigating the case have turned their reports over to the Clallam County prosecutor’s office. No charges had been filed Monday.

In releasing their report, the Health Department’s Ron Weaver and Byron Plan emphasized they focused on hospital equipment and policy - not Turner’s behavior.


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