Facility failed to report sexual abuse that occurred when 8 patients were left alone

Fort Lauderdale Hospital was cited by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) for deficiencies related to reporting sexual abuse after AHCA found that the “facility failed to report an alleged sexual abuse incident to the local Police or Sheriff’s department.”

AHCA found that a minor patient alleged that he/she was sexually abused by another patient during shift change on the Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit. The patient first reported her abuse allegation to a Mental Health Technician. The incident was then reportedly investigated by the Chief Nursing Officer and the Risk Manager, but they “did not report the alleged incident of sexual abuse to the local police or sheriff’s office.”

During review of the security recording of the TV room, AHCA found:

“Patient #* and a group of seven (*) patients are seen in the activity/TV room…Patient #* is viewed on her knees facing Patient #**, who is seated with his back to the camera and is facing Patient #*. Patient #** is observed wearing a hospital gown, while Patient #* is kneeling in front of him for that one minute.”

The Risk Manager stated during an interview, “I acknowledge that some compromising position had occurred.” The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) acknowledged that the patient who alleged the sexual abuse was an adolescent minor at the date of the allegation. A review of the facility policy and procedures indicated that “police reporting of sexual misconduct or abuse is required on all minors and misconduct cases related to adults.”

The inspection report did not include a plan of correction.