Lower Columbia - Public Affairs - Media Center

The Public Affairs Media Center is designed to give you quick, easy access to the latest information and news affecting St. John Medical Center. Regular updates will be provided as new information is available.

Release of Information on the Condition of Patients
Per the Washington State Hospital Association Guidelines

Patient Condition Classification

Information about the condition and location of an inpatient, outpatient, or emergency department patient may be released only if the inquiry specifically contains the patient’s name. No information is to be given to anyone requesting it if the request does not include a specific patient’s name. This includes inquiries from the press.

Condition Classifications
The following patient condition classifications should be used by hospitals, and have the following meanings:

UNDETERMINED: The patient is awaiting a physician and an assessment.

TREATED AND RELEASED: The patient has been treated by the hospital, and has been released. In this instance, "treated" is the condition and "released" is the location. Generally, this indicates the patient’s condition was satisfactory upon release.

STABILIZED AND TRANSFERRED: The patient was stabilized at the hospital, and has been transferred to another facility for further care. In this instance, "stabilized" is the condition and "transferred" is the location. Hospitals should not release where the patient was transferred. This classification does not imply a patient condition, simply that the patient is in another facility.

SATISFACTORY: Vital signs (heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, temperature) are stable and within normal limits. The patient is conscious and comfortable. Indicators are good.

SERIOUS: Vital signs may be unstable and not within normal limits. Patient is acutely ill. Indicators are questionable.

CRITICAL: Vital signs are unstable or not within normal limits. The patient may be unconscious. There is some doubt the patient will recover. Death could be imminent.

DECEASED: The death of a patient may be reported to the authorities by the hospital, as required by law. Typically, a report will be made after efforts have been made to notify the next-of-kin. The death of a patient may also be reported to the media after the next-of-kin has been notified, as long as the patient’s body is still in the hospital.

RELEASED: If a patient has been released, and the hospital receives an inquiry about the patient by name, the hospital may confirm that the patient is no longer in the hospital, but cannot give the release date, admission date, length of stay or any other information.

The patient’s location may be included in the hospital directory to facilitate visits by friends and family as well as delivery of flowers and gifts. However, as a matter of policy, the patient’s specific room location but should not routinely be given to the media.