At a news conference yesterday, Plato A. Marinakos, chief executive officer of the hospital, said the assistant pharmacy director was fired and the director retired because the investigators found "management and supervisory deficiencies" in the department.
Specifically, he said, investigators found that pharmacists were routinely failing to write their initials on prescriptions for medications they prepared, contrary to hospital policy.
Hospital communications director Ellen Karasik added: "Among the people on the shift, they each filled so many prescriptions and they didn't sign off; they don't even know who did it. It was a mistake, but what was unexcusable was not signing off."
Marinakos said the assistant director, whom he declined to identify, citing personnel policies, was directly responsible for the pharmacy's day-to- day management.
Reached at his Delaware County home yesterday, former pharmacy director Bernard Corchnoy declined to comment, adding that he would issue a statement ''at the proper place and at the proper time."
Marinakos said he does not know if Corchnoy retired voluntarily or had been pressured to do so.
Marinakos said mandatory reorientation and education programs have been ordered for more than 1,000 hospital employees, including the pharmacy staff, to prevent future accidental deaths.
Three days after Tyhisha Smith's death, Clare Marie Quigley, a 62-year-old Collingdale woman, died after receiving the wrong blood type during a transfusion. There was another patient in the hospital with the last name Quigley.
Two weeks ago, because of those accidents, the hospital suspended without pay four pharmacists, four nurses and a blood-bank technician for periods from three days to two weeks. They also were placed on probation. In addition, three pharmacist assistants were placed on probation.
While the Fitzgerald Mercy pharmacy is without its directors, Mercy Catholic officals have asked Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's Pharmacy Department to provide temporary leadership.
Steven Sheaffer, Jefferson's assistant director of clinical services in pharmacy, will serve as acting director at Fitzgerald Mercy's pharmacy while new directors are being recruited and procedures are being reviewed.
Hospital officials said a third death that occurred nearly a year ago, when a Clifton Heights woman bled to death after a doctor accidentally cut a vein during surgery, has been determined "an inadvertent, unfortunate mistake" in which all standard procedures had been followed.
The medical examiner had ruled the Jan. 7 death of Harriet A. Parsons, 49, ''a therapeutic misadventure." No disciplinary action was taken against the surgeon.