UNAP claiming contaminated tools used in operating room at Fatima Hospital

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A radio ad funded by the United Nurses & Allied Professionals (UNAP) union that hit the air this week says tools used in the operating room at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital were found to have a number of problems.

“Contaminated with foreign material, broken, bent, discolored,” said Chris Callaci, general counsel for UNAP.

Callaci said the ad’s claims come from information in a summary of a report posted at the hospital that its California-based parent company, Prospect Medical Holdings, put together.

According to Calacci, the consultants who put together the report examined operating room equipment and found the tools in question this past spring.

“We’re really worried now that the troubles that they have on the West Coast, they brought here to Rhode Island, and we’ll have none of it,” said Calacci.

Prospect Medical Holdings took over Fatima Hospital in 2014. In 2016, the Journal Inquirer reported the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found surgical tools in a Prospect-owned California hospital that were discolored with a film buildup.

Calacci said a union nurse saw the summary posted in the hospital and brought it to the union’s attention, but alleged that the hospital refused to release the full report the summary is based on. The union has filed a complaint to try and get that full report.

Asked by Eyewitness News about the allegations, a spokesman for the R.I. Department of Health said: “Those were not findings noted by the Rhode Island Department of Health. We have not issued any disciplinary actions for Fatima related to surgical instruments.”

A spokesman for the hospital criticized the union for making the allegations, saying in a statement:

“Once again, UNAP is using inaccurate information in an effort not just to scare patients but also to try and gain leverage at the bargaining table. This is shameful, irresponsible and damaging to the hard-working, dedicated employees (some of their own union members) who provide quality, compassionate care to our patients every day. Chartercare hospitals have an outstanding record of quality and patient safety.

“The union’s latest allegations were not in response to any regulatory or accreditation survey but were prompted by the hospital’s own internal quality assurance processes that are designed to safeguard quality of care and patient safety. Chartercare engages a recognized vendor that provides routine, preventive maintenance on select surgical instrumentation, just as every other hospital does. Our surgical facilities at both hospitals are fully compliant with state regulations and accrediting agencies and, in fact, have received specialized certifications for hip, knee and spine procedures.”