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Photo: File Photo / The Daily Pennsylvanian

An unexpected corner at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania gave Penn trouble last fall: dirty hinges on bed railings.

In a report made public this month, state inspectors at the Pennsylvania Department of Health found that the janitorial staff at HUP had failed to successfully clean bed railings back in the fall.

The report was based on interviews with employees and photographs taken by physician Hooman Noorchashm, whose wife noticed the problem during her stay at the hospital, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Although the hinges exist below the surface of the bed, Noorchashm said the plastic tubes used to deliver medication into the patient’s bloodstream are draped near the bed railings where the debris is found. The state report did not say if patients were harmed by the uncleanliness of the beds.

Noorchshm said he did not think the janitorial staff was at fault, but rather thought it was the way the bed railings were designed that made them difficult to clean.

“You’re going to see debris and crud on those beds because of the way they’re designed,” Noorchashm told the Inquirer. “This has never been about [HUP]. This has never been about janitorial services.”

Despite the initial findings earlier in the school year, a formal inspection in May by the Pennsylvania Department of Health determined that the hospital had taken “immediate steps to develop a process for the facility to provide prompt resolution of patient complaints and grievances.”

“Infection control is among our highest priorities, and we are fully cooperative with all regulatory review processes,” said Penn Medicine’s Vice President for Public Affairs Patrick Norton. “We are taking this matter very seriously, and have worked closely with the manufacturer to implement enhanced cleaning protocol to ensure patient safety.”

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