7 Southern California hospitals fined and 2 more in San Diego
Posted May 21 2009 10:42pm
The latest fines from the CA Department of Health. Some of these were pretty serious and 2 revolved around sponges being left inside patients after surgery. There is a solution for sponges that helps. BD
The California Department of Public Health on Wednesday issued $25,000 penalties against 13 hospitals -- including seven in Los Angeles and Orange counties -- for serious violations that, in some cases, led to patient deaths. Each violation comes with a $25,000 fine, part of an ongoing effort to hold hospitals more accountable for placing patients at risk of death or serious injury. UC Irvine Medical Center was the only facility to get two penalties -- $50,000 in fines.
An inexperienced nurse at Brotman Medical Center in Culver City administered a pain medication intravenously that should have been injected. The patient suffered a brain injury because of a lack of oxygen, fell into a coma and was placed on a ventilator. State investigators found that seven weeks after the first incident last July, the hospital violated its own policy by failing to mark all syringes filled with the same painkiller, hydromorphone, with a pink high-alert sticker. The hospital regrets the incidents and has revised its protocols, said Greg Schwarz, a Brotman vice president.
At Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, medical staff left a sponge in a patient’s abdomen during surgery on Sept. 15, 2007. Nearly a year later, a hospital scan revealed the sponge surrounded by a cyst. Hospital spokeswoman Julie Rees said the hospital has taken corrective action by revising its policy on counting surgical sponges
At St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, medical staff gave a patient too much potassium to correct low electrolyte levels, triggering a fatal heart attack. After the patient was given the drug, medical staff did not measure the patient's potassium levels for about one day, when they were critically high. State officials conducting a probe of the facility two months later found that the hospital had not enacted a new policy to monitor patients receiving potassium. During that inspection, they found that a patient had received potassium but was discharged without the hospital ever checking to see if the patient's potassium level or heart rate was stable.
The UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest was penalized $25,000 because its staff left a sponge inside a spinal surgery patient in June, according to an investigation by the California Department of Public Health. That patient had to undergo a second surgery three months later to have the sponge removed.
The second local hospital to be penalized Wednesday was Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, which also has received two of the $25,000 fines since 2007.