UPMC Adopting Safety Measures Following Death of Patient


University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has announced that all hospitals throughout the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area will now use a safety measure called “Condition L” if a hospital patient goes missing. This is in response to the death of an 89-year-old woman suffering dementia whose body was found on the roof of UPMC Montefiore at the beginning of December. She had apparently walked up to the roof and through the fire door where she died of exposure.

Condition L will be initiated by a nurse on duty when a patient is missing, and all available staff will be mobilized to find them. This search will be both “comprehensive [and] systematic.” It will be announced throughout the hospital, as will a description of the missing person. A photograph will be emailed to every hospital computer and the police will be notified. In addition to these measures, patients who may be at risk of wandering away will be given colored gowns to identify them if they leave.

A Pittsburgh police investigation found that the patient who died in December had walked through a fire exit at the top of the stairs leading to the roof, but that no fire alarm sounded. However, hospital officials dispute this. A spokesperson claims, “The fire door did not have an alarm and intentionally did not have an alarm.” However, the door’s lock was broken at the time of the incident.

There is no word on why a fire door would not have a fire alarm that warned building occupants.

Police said that, during their investigation, maintenance workers were seen repairing the lock of the door. The broken lock was taken into evidence.

UPMC stated that signs have been placed at all mechanical doors indicating they must be locked at all times, and hospital security and maintenance will be conducting daily inspections of all doors leading to mechanical areas and roofs.

A family attorney filed subpoenas earlier this month to find out more details about what occurred that night. UPMC says they are cooperating.