Update: Decision Due Friday On Who Will Manage Lab

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The next big decision on the road to E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur reopening will be made Friday, according to the hospital's administrator.

E.J. Noble was forced to all but shut down last Friday night, after the state health department closed the hospital's laboratory.

Since then, hospital administrator Charles Conole has been in talks with Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, and Canton-Potsdam Hospital, both of whom have offered to manage the lab, according to Conole.

Conole told 7 News reporter John Friot he expects to pick between the hospitals Friday.

Conole said he anticipates submitting a plan of correction to the state early next week.

"We're making strong progress," Conole said. "We have to get reopened as soon as we can."

Meanwhile, 7 News learned Wednesday that the laboratory worker responsible for the mix-up that led to a botched transfusion was allowed to continue working in the lab after the error came to light.

Moreover, a source with knowledge of the matter said the worker was only reassigned when the state health department shut down the lab last Friday,

The worker remains employed at the hospital and is part of the team responsible for developing the correction plan E.J. Noble will present to the health department, according to the source.

Conole denied Thursday that the person has a part in developing the correction plan. Conole said the plan is being handled by an associate administrator and the new medical director of the laboratory. 

Conole said the worker was not fired because she was the only one who had the credentials required to operate the lab.

Besides, Conole said, it was the worker's first mistake in 15 years and "I didn't want to throw her under the bus."

The man who received the wrong blood, Jack Hutton, died two weeks after the September 5 transfusion. Hutton's family may sue the hospital. (Watch the family's story as part of our coverage of the E.J. Noble situation Tuesday, here.)

 

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Sunday, April 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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