Dozens of California Hospitals Fined. Why? Patient Safety Violations

In December, 2010 the Public Health Department of the state of California reported that it was about to levy $850,000 in penalties on more than a dozen hospitals, as a result of patient safety infractions within their facilities.

Less than a year later, in September, 2011, 12 more hospitals were found non-compliant in patient care matters, on at least one occasion, and another $600,000 in fines were meted out.

According to Pam Dickfoss, Deputy Director of California’s Health Care Quality division,  state law requires all hospitals must report to the Public Health Department any mistake that may cause either patient death or patient injury. But in fact, as Public Citizen’s Health Research Group consistently reveals year after year, few hospitals do report, and that failure itself is a violation of law.

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A little research shows that 26 different hospitals have been penalized for treatment and/or procedural mistakes that either caused – or were likely to cause – serious injury or death to patients, in the most recent two-year time-frame reported. We now know which hospitals they are.

Because our purpose at MedicalMiscreants here is public safety,  here is some detail regarding the medical facilities which were fined, and why:

(2010 sanctions):

  • Fresno Surgical Hospital – $50,000 fine – Surgical team left gauze inside a woman during a hysterectomy. Patient suffered  infections and severe pain for eight months
  • Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Valencia – $50,000 fine – Overdosing a patient on antibiotics, causing kidney failure. Patient now undergoes dialysis three times each week
  • Kaiser Hospital South San Francisco$50,000 – Administered drugs and vaccines to thousands of patients, that were not properly refrigerated for three years
  • USC Medical Center –$25,000 – Surgical team left a sponge inside an abdominal surgery patient
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital – $50,000 – Failed to safely administer medication to an infant
  • Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center Mission Viejo – $100,000 – For a second surgery on a patient to remove a metal screw cap left in her body during the first surgery
  • San Francisco General Hospital – $50,000 – Accidentally performing a partial breast removal on a patient
  • Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital – $50,000 – A 2009 kidnapping of an infant by someone posing as a nurse
  • Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla$100,000 – Surgeon left a metal pin inside a patient’s neck during spinal surgery
  • St. Jude Medical Center Fullerton – $75,000 – Patient died after a nurse administered an overdose of morphine
  • Sutter Solano Medical Center Vallejo – $50,000 – Surgical team left a sponge in a woman’s abdomen after a Caesarean
  • Torrance Memorial Medical Center – $75,000 – Surgeon left a foreign object inside a patient following surgery
  • UCSF Medical Center – $75,000 – Surgeon operated on the wrong eye of a patient (Bay Citizen, 12/8); and
  • Ventura County Medical Center – $50,000 – Left a surgical towel inside a patient’s abdomen after surgery

http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/page-1/QUA-274180/Immediate-Jeopardy-14-CA-Hospitals-Fined-850000

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(2011 sanctions):
  • Alameda Hospital Alameda – $50,000 – The administration failed to develop and implement written policies and procedures to ensure the safe and effective administration of medication. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this hospital. The penalty is $50,000
  • Brotman Medical Center Culver City – $50,000 – The administration failed to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it failed to follow its policies and procedures for fall prevention. This is the second administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • California Men’s Colony San Luis Obisbo – $50,000 –  Failure to implement written policies and procedures to ensure the safe and effective administration of medication. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • Dominican Hospital Santa Cruz – $75,000 – Failure to develop and implement written policies and procedures to ensure the safe & effective administration of medication. This is the third administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • EmanuelMedical Center Turlock – $75,000 – Failure to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it did not follow its surgical policies & procedures. This is the second administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • Kaiser Hospital Vallejo – $50,000 – Failure to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it did not follow its surgical policies & procedures. This is the second administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • USC Medical Center Los Angeles – $50,000 – Failure to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it failed to implement written policies & procedures to ensure the safe and effective administration of medication. This is the fourth administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • Riverside Community Hospital Riverside – $50,000 –  Failure to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it did not follow its surgical policies & procedures. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this hospital. The penalty is $50,000
  • Stanislaus Surgical Hospital Modesto – $50,000 – Failure to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it did not follow its surgical policies & procedures. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • Sutter Delta Medical Center Antioch – $50,000 – Failure to ensure the health & safety of its patient when it failed to follow its policies & procedures related to ongoing patient monitoring and assessment and provision of patient care. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • Torrance Memorial Medical Center Torrance – $50,000 – Failure to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it did not follow its surgical policies & procedures. This is the first administrative penalty issued to this hospital
  • UCSF Medical Center San Francisco – $50,000 – Failure to ensure the health & safety of a patient when it did not follow its surgical policies & procedures. This is the fifth administrative penalty issued to this hospital

{Administrative penalties are issued under authority granted by Health & Safety Code. An administrative penalty carries a fine of $50,000 for the first violation; $75,000 for the second; $100,000 for the third and subsequent violation at any one hospital. Violations that occurred prior to 2009 carry a fine of $25,000 and are not counted in this total.}

http://cdph.ca.gov/Pages/PH11-038.aspx

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