Outpatient Surgery Magazine

OR Excellence Awards 2016 - September 2016 - Subscribe to Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Outpatient Surgery Magazine, providing current information on Surgical Services, Surgical Facility Administration, Outpatient Surgery News and Trends, OR Excellence and more.

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Page 22 of 146

F or most Americans, the Kimberly-Clark brand is an icon of warmth, quality and family values. The maker of Kleenex, Huggies and Depends helps more than a billion people every day "cope, laugh, love and carry on with simple human dignity," the company's website says. But inside the company's healthcare division, which made drapes, sur- gical gowns, exam gloves and sterile wraps, the scenario may have been quite different. According to depositions given by former employ- ees as part of a lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark, the company experi- enced serious, persistent quality issues in all of its barrier protection products for as long as a decade. In the depositions, former employees alleged that the products consistently did not meet quality standards, and yet leaders ignored the problems. Because Kimberly-Clark was a market leader, the problems, if real, could have put thousands of patients and health- care workers at risk. In their deposi- tions, former employees said aggressive cost-cut- ting measures meant quality took a back seat to profits, as K-C worked to compete with manufacturer/distributors like Cardinal and Medline that had their own private-label barrier products. The employees testified that although the quality problems were well known inside the company, executives chose to keep marketing the products and to not tell healthcare professionals or regulators. K-C spinoff Halyard Health now faces investigations from the Department of Justice and the Department of Veterans Affairs. An FDA inspector reportedly visited Halyard this summer, inquiring about the company's gowns. In addition to the threat of a possible S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 6 • O U T PA T I E N TS U R G E R Y. N E T • 2 3 "There were times when our surgeons had removed their gowns, and they were wet or bloody and then (had) to shower and put on new scrubs." — Rashel Campos, RN, Bahamas Surgery Center in Bakersfield, Calif.

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