Grays Harbor Community Hospital mistakenly reported to the State Patrol that a Humptulips man brought there following a car crash had died in the crash, a hospital spokesman said.
David G. Hammond, 69, was taken to Community Hospital Monday morning after the pickup truck he was driving crashed into a power pole just east of Aberdeen on State Route 12, according to the State Patrol. His wife, Joan L. Hammond, also 69, was in the car but was not injured, the Patrol said. Both were wearing seat belts.
State Patrol spokesman Trooper Russ Winger said a trooper at the crash scene called the hospital to ask about David Hammond and was told by a hospital employee that Hammond had died.
In fact, Hammond was taken to Community and later transferred to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, where he was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman said.
Community Hospital spokesman David Quigg said the hospital employee who spoke to the trooper was not authorized to speak to law enforcement personnel in a situation such as that. Quigg said only he and the house supervisor, a registered nurse who also acts as an incident commander when needed, should have delivered that sort of news.
The trooper, believing there was a fatality, relayed the information to dispatchers and the State Patrol officials notified local news outlets, as they do routinely. The Daily World and other news outlets carried stories saying David Hammond had died as a result of the crash.
Quigg said the hospital will take steps to educate and train employees about the release of information.