An Open Letter to our Patients and the Community

February 17, 2017

Swedish has served this community for more than 100 years. We recognize the immense responsibility we carry in ensuring each life we touch is made better by the care we deliver. Nothing is more important to us. Over the past few days, we have been humbled and saddened as we have seen that commitment to our patients and our community questioned. We understand why many are concerned by what they have read.
I would first like to sincerely apologize if we have not clearly expressed our firm commitment to do the right thing. It is our privilege to take care of those who entrust their care to Swedish, and we know we must take every measure to earn that trust every day.
While thousands receive extraordinary care with us every year, despite all of our caregivers’ best intentions, our system failed Talia Goldenberg and the results were devastating for her family. The Seattle Times honored her story in vivid, beautiful and painful detail and we deeply regret such a tragedy occurred on our watch. A deep study of care practices immediately following her death led to changes that will help prevent any such similar event from happening again.
Patient safety and quality are our first priority. We will not waver in that commitment, and for Talia, her family and every other member of our community we reaffirm our commitment to a culture of safety, where safety comes first in every decision.
As part of our culture of safety, when concerns are identified, we take them seriously. We conduct routine reviews and audits so that we can continuously improve our performance. Like all other health care organizations, we have regular announced and unannounced visits from regulatory agencies to review our environment of care. Recent visits to Swedish Neuroscience Institute resulted in positive reviews and we will continue to work closely with outside organizations and experts who share our common focus to ensure the best patient care and outcomes. If there are findings from any visits to our hospitals, we will take them seriously and deal with them quickly and appropriately.
Our caregivers wake each day focused on making lives better. I see the pride, dedication and remarkable outcomes accomplished at Swedish and have heard the deepest gratitude many members of the community have for our caregivers and our organization.  This week, while many of our caregivers are shaken and uncertain, I have thanked them for their unwavering commitment to our patients and their care; as well as for sharing their questions and concerns during difficult times.
Finally, we thank our community for their commitment to Swedish, and their faith in us to provide the best care for the region. We recognize that there is a loss of trust, and appreciate your patience and partnership as we work to repair that trust through as much transparency as possible.
Thank you,


Anthony A. Armada, FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
Swedish Health Services