Man claims Parkland discharged him with IV in arm

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on April 10, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 10 at 10:36 PM

DALLAS — A man launched a serious accusation against one of Dallas' largest hospitals during the public comment portion of the Dallas County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday morning.

Standing at the podium, James Dunn rolled up his shirt sleeve and showed off an intravenous connection still attached to his arm.

"Right here," he declared, holding up his arm, "the shunt — a medical instrument — was left in my arm!"

Dunn had been taken to Parkland after collapsing at church on Palm Sunday. He was discharged eight days ago with the IV still in his arm.

The accusation clearly alarmed some of the commissioners, who immediately asked staff to find him help.

"That came out of left field," Commissioner Maurine Dickey told News 8 after the meeting. "I was shocked."

Dunn, 54, said he was admitted to Parkland Memorial Hospital on Sunday, April 1 for dizziness. It was his fourth trip to the emergency room this year, he claimed.

After staying overnight, he said nurses discharged him without ever removing the IV connection.

"It’s been there since last Monday," he told the commissioners, "which is dangerous."

Parkland refused to discuss Dunn's case. Neither News 8 nor county officials could confirm his claim. Yet Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins asked the hospital's leadership for a full investigation, admitting he has heard similar patient complaints.

"There has been at least one instance that I'm aware of in the near past with someone being released with an IV left in their arm, and that's just not acceptable." Jenkins said. "We can't have that."

For months, Parkland has been rocked by repeated accusations and reports showing widespread, life-threatening problems at the county hospital. The public facility failed a series of government inspections last year and has promised massive changes.

"It’s unacceptable this hospital is in the state that it’s in now, given our taxpayers pay $400 million a year to subsidize this hospital," Jenkins said.

Late Monday, Parkland spokeswoman Candace White released this written statement:

"Though we are unable to provide specific details due to patient privacy laws, we are concerned and continue to investigate this matter."

Although Dunn admitted he was leery of Parkland, he said he decided to return to the hospital after the Commissioners Court meeting and get the IV removed. He was back home on Tuesday night.

County leaders worry they may be other patients like him.

"If it's happened again, we need to know: Is this a pattern?" Jenkins asked. "And what can we do to correct it?"

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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