(Renton, WA, March 18, 2021) – Valley Medical Center has announced steps being taken following the January death of 12-year-old patient, Kaloni Bolton. Kaloni visited Valley’s urgent care for asthma treatment and passed away days later at a local children’s hospital.
Valley’s staff is deeply saddened by Kaloni’s death. We are committed to the best possible care for all of our patients. As part of Valley’s dedication to health equity and to fully understand what happened, we activated a comprehensive investigation. National law firm, Perkins-Coie, was retained to lead an independent Section 1557 review of the details of Kaloni’s case. Section 1557 is a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibiting discrimination. We also retained United Minds, a global management consultancy, to facilitate the evaluation and identification of any opportunities to strengthen our efforts to address health inequities for the communities we serve.
In addition to these independent investigations, we have taken action on key process improvements, including:
- The COVID pandemic forced Valley to establish two specialized upper respiratory (URI) treatment spaces at North Benson and Covington Urgent Care locations. Patients are triaged and if vital signs are within normal limits, they wait in their vehicle for a room to become available. We now conduct regular reassessments at the vehicle to determine if a patient’s condition is worsening between triage and treatment. ( UPDATE 3/28/2021: With new safety protocols in place, patients now remain in clinic.)
- We’re working toward establishing URI/COVID evaluation spaces at all four urgent cares to prevent respiratory patients from needing to travel to another location for specialized care. (UPDATE: 3/28/2021: All four urgent care locations now provide URI/COVID evaluation.)
- We have enhanced existing pediatric asthma care protocols for how we help families manage asthma with the goal of reducing the need for urgent care and emergency department visits.
- We are optimizing treatment pathways between urgent care and the emergency department.
- We continued quarterly urgent care team education which has included equity, inclusion, implicit bias and civility training.
- We are evaluating the urgent care waiting areas and optimizing the waiting process where possible, while continuing to meet COVID restrictions.
- It has been publicly asserted by family that the oxygen tank used for Kaloni’s care was empty and had to be switched out. Upon clinical case review it was found the oxygen tank was full of oxygen, worked properly and never needed to be swapped out during her visit.
- Several have asked why Kaloni was transported to Seattle Children's Hospital. Pediatric intensive care requires an extremely specialized care environment that Valley is not equipped to provide. Seattle Children's offers this level of care and EMS protocol requires children in need of this care to be transported to a facility with a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. King County Medic One is well equipped to provide pediatric intensive care and transport.
“Our hearts go out to Kaloni’s family as they continue to grieve her loss and look for answers,” commented Jeannine Grinnell, Interim CEO at Valley Medical Center. “We have a long and deep commitment to equitable access to care in our community and we are using this review to ensure we live up to and where possible, further strengthen that promise. We will be sharing as much information as possible throughout this process.”
Valley Medical Center is the largest nonprofit healthcare provider between Seattle and Tacoma, proudly serving more than 600,000 residents. In addition to the hospital, the Medical Center operates a network of more than four dozen primary, urgent care and specialty clinics throughout Southeast King County.
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