Weather Forecast


Sanford Bemidji Medical Center reports 1 incident

Sanford Bemidji Medical Center reported one "adverse health event" from October 2010 to October 2011, according to a report released today by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The hospital, which until March had operated as North Country Regional Hospital, reported a serious disability resulting from a pressure ulcer, or bedsore.

"Obviously, our goal is to prevent those kind of events from ever happening. That is certainly our goal," said Joy Johnson, the chief operating officer at Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota. "We strive to have zero reported events."

Patient safety at the hospital is paramount, she said.

The hospital in 2010 reported five adverse health events, two in 2009, four in 2008 and two in 2007.

When an event occurs, staff undergoes an investigation and subsequent training to correct whatever went wrong.

"We work very hard to keep them from happening," Johnson said. "When they do happen, we use that. We do an investigation into went wrong and work hard to fix the problem so it never happens again."

Johnson said the benefit of the MDH's adverse health event reporting is that it enables hospitals to communicate with one another. Not only are hospitals able to learn from events that happen within their own walls, but at hospitals throughout the state.

"It's really about learning from each other, preventing things from happening and really raising the bar," she said. "We are constantly improving safety for our patients."

Statewide, the adverse health events report, available online at, says that the number of adverse health events at hospitals increased from 305 in 2010 to 316 in 2011.

The number of events resulting in serious injury or death to a patient decreased from 107 in 2010 to 89 in 2011, according to the report. The MDH said that is the lowest level of harm since 2007.

The report, in its eighth year, shows that the increase in events mainly occurred in two categories: pressure ulcers and prong procedures. The number of pressure ulcers rose from 188 to 141, an increase of 19 percent, while reports of wrong procedures increased by 63 percent, to 26.