Atoka Co. hospital under investigation

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ATOKA, OK-A recent investigation into Atoka County Medical Center uncovers some disturbing findings.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the Oklahoma Department of Health just released their findings stating that some of the hospital's medical staff are unqualified to do the jobs they're performing.

Nita Raney's father was sent to the Atoka County Medical Center in February because of difficulty breathing and swallowing. She said she had concerns about the nurse who was attending to him.

"A nurse was going to suction out the phlegm from my dad's throat and the device she had to use, she wasn't for sure how to use it because she's trained to use a different type and so we just told her, 'do what you gotta do,'" she said.

Raney said although the staff told her she could feed her father, he was phyically unable to eat during the ten days he was confined in the hospital. Because he wasn't recovering, he was transferred to MCSO in Durant.

"It's real frustrating, knowing that here we are trying to feed our dad this food and he's choking on it and we didn't know until we came to Durant and we found out we're not supposed to be doing that," she said.

A report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after their investigation into the Atoka County Medical Center last April states that some of the hospital's staff members were not certified or trained to work in the departments they were assigned.

"The timing was not opportune at all, but still we have to provide a level of care that's acceptable."

Hospital board chairman, David Burrage said around the time of the survey, there was a turnover of staff. While they were all licensed, not all of staff members were fully trained.

"The nurses that we had were all relatively new because of the change in our medical community that just happened and we lost several nurses," he said.

But Raney said that's unacceptable.

"There's no excuse for that. With anybody who's gonna work for any employer, they need to ensure their employees are properly trained," she said.

Burrage said the hospital is working to hire more permanent staff and to improve training procedures.

"We have been in the process since we hired those people to get them trained properly, to give them the resources they need, get them comfortable working with each other, make sure they know what our policies and procedures are," he said.

"Let's do the training, get it done and make for sure. Don't be blowing smoke and say yeah they're trained because we know, we can tell," said Raney.

CMS refused to comment about the investigation until it is finished. The state health department and CMS will inspect the hospital again in May to make sure they keep facilities and personnel up to code.

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