DeTar hospitals adopt new alert system

Laura Garcia By Laura Garcia

June 19, 2017 at 4:27 p.m.
Updated June 19, 2017 at 4:34 p.m.

William Blanchard, CEO of DeTar Healthcare System

William Blanchard, CEO of DeTar Healthcare System   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

Switchboard operator Cecilia Zaragoza answers all incoming calls to DeTar Hospital Navarro.

But when a call comes in on the bright red phone, it's usually something serious.

That phone would ring if a baby is missing or if there is a hazardous spill in a certain area of the hospital.

Usually she would relay over the hospital's overhead speaker system that there is a "Code Pink" or a "Code Orange."

But that changed June 12 when the color-coded alert system was replaced with a plain-language one.

Under the new system, she might say, "Facility alert: There is a missing child."

Zaragoza, who has worked at the hospital for about 18 months, said with the new system, everyone in the hospital will understand what's going on.

Marketing Director Judith Barefield said DeTar Healthcare System is following new recommendations from the Texas Hospital Association.

"It cuts down on confusion," she said.

Without the color codes, alerts will be clear and concise to anyone in the hospital.

Barefield said it's common for health care professionals to work at more than one facility in the area, and it's likely a color-based code could mean one thing at one hospital and something different at another.

"We've used various colors to denote emergency events such as tornado, fire (or) community disaster; to help staff remember them, we even list them on the reverse of their badges," said William R. Blanchard, the hospital's chief executive officer. "However, some clarity issues remain, which could lead to delayed response from the staff and confusion for patients and guests."

Both DeTar hospitals are using the new plain-language emergency code system.

Citizens Medical Center officials said they have also started the transition.

The only color code that will remain at all local hospitals is "Code Blue," which means a patient requires immediate resuscitation.


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