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NY Officials OK Hospital Changes

May 25, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ State officials have approved a plan to overhaul the live liver transplant program at Mount Sinai, the prestigious New York hospital where the death of a liver donor sparked an investigation.

Under the agreement reached Friday, the hospital will no longer allow first year residents to work in the liver transplant unit. Instead, the hospital must hire two full-time nurses for the unit and always maintain a ratio of at least one nurse per four patients.

Among other changes, the plan also requires doctors and nurses to respond to all pages from the unit within five minutes.

The state health department barred the hospital from conducting live adult-to-adult liver transplants after Michael Hurewitz, 57, of upstate Schuylerville, N.Y., died in January after donating 60 percent of his liver to his brother.

After Hurewitz’s death, the department cited Mount Sinai for a number of post surgical care violations. The hospital was fined the maximum $48,000.

The suspension of live adult-to-adult liver transplants remains in effect, but is expected to be lifted on Sept. 12, said hospital spokeswoman Joan Lebow.

Health Department spokesman Rob Kenney said his department would continue to investigate the hospital, which has received 96 complaints _ 73 of them from the liver transplant unit _ in the last two and a half months.

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