California Hospital Mistakes Result in Fines for Nine Facilities
Nine California hospitals have been fined more than half a million dollars collectively for medical mistakes, including wrong site surgeries, leaving medical equipment in patients and medication errors, which are all preventable problems that most experts agree should never occur.
The California Department of Public Health announced the California hospital fines on May 20, indicating that the facilities failed to comply with state licensing requirements in ways that had caused, or were likely to cause, death or serious injury to patients. The state of California has been surveying its hospitals for such medical mistakes since 2007.
Hospitals that received fines include Alameda County Medical Center, Hi-Desert Medical Center, Marin General Hospital, Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, Parkview Community Hospital, Pomerado Hospital, Rady Children’s Hospital, Scripps Green Hospital, and Tri-City Medical Center. Fines ranged from $50,000 for a first offense, to $75,000 for a second offense.
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In total, the state assessed $550,000 in fines against California hospitals for a variety of offenses. Fines can range from $50,000 to $100,000.
Scripps Green was fined twice, once for $50,000 and once for $75,000. However, the state noted that the hospital, located in La Jolla in San Diego County, has actually been fined a total of four times. In one instance, a surgeon performing hip replacement surgery discovered one of the medical instruments had dried blood from a previous operation on it. In another, a doctor inserted the wrong end of a catheter into a patient’s spine, resulting in the tip breaking off inside the patient’s body.
In another instance cited by state officials, a nurse gave a newborn a dose of morphine intended for the baby’s mother at Mission Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo. The baby suffered respiratory problems, but recovered.
Parkview Community Hospital, in Riverside, was cited after a surgeon removed the wrong kidney from a Spanish-speaking patient. State investigators said that no interpreter was provided to the patient, making consent impossible for the surgery, which was supposed to be for the removal of his other kidney with tumors. The patient, Fracisco Torres, 72, has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital.
Most of the citations were given for offenses that are deemed to be preventable by most medical experts. Medication errors can be prevented with electronic pharmaceutical records and with checklists for nurses. Medical instruments being left in the body, as was the case in one of the fines, can be prevented by performing a count on all medical devices during and near the end of surgery. Wrong site surgery errors can be prevented by the surgeon consulting with the patient and then putting his or her initials on the proper operative site with a permanent marking pen before the patient is moved to the location of the procedure. The surgeon can then look for his initials and operates through them. Proper record-keeping, pre-surgery checklists and surgical staff taking a “time-out” to discuss the procedure before cutting can also help eliminate wrong site surgery incidents.
matthewOctober 22, 2011 at 7:06 am
well my grandma ended up with numonia if i spelled it right oh well going on to the point she was sent home three days later still had it ... and the security is unprofessional and so was one receptoinist but that hospital is wacked......
M LevoniusOctober 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm
In May 2000 I underwent a double bone grapgh, double spinal fusion and an electrical spinal fusing device implant with four electrical leads from my spine to my legs. The implanted electrical medical device was for only 6 months was to be removed in six months time. Prior to that date, the device relocated itself in my back causing me excruciating pain, seizures, numbness to my feet and legs and [Show More]In May 2000 I underwent a double bone grapgh, double spinal fusion and an electrical spinal fusing device implant with four electrical leads from my spine to my legs. The implanted electrical medical device was for only 6 months was to be removed in six months time. Prior to that date, the device relocated itself in my back causing me excruciating pain, seizures, numbness to my feet and legs and chronic sleep deprivation, anxiety, and worse. Making matters worse, the surgeon referred me to his Scripps colleague who wanted me to undergo an MRI with the electrical transmitting device in my spine! When the MRI scheduler learned from me that I had an electrical medical implant in my spine, she told me the doctor should have known an MRI couldn't be done at all. When I called to complain to the surgeon at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, he ignored all of of my phone calls and messages! For six months the surgeon who did the medical device implant ignored my calls for help and suffering. I ended up having to locate another hospital in Santa Monica to remove the device. I was left with permanent failed back syndrome, and surgically induced scoliosis and permanent elevated pain levels to my legs and spine for the rest of my llife. My quality of life severely plummeted because of the Scripps Green Hospital's surgeons gross medical incompetence and negligence. I later found out the surgeon had multiple medical malpractice lawsuits, a wrongful death suit, and had been on several years probation for driving under the influence which resulted in the death of one individual, and serious bodily injury to several others. This information was never disclosed to me prior to my undergoing surgery by this doctor at Scripps Green Hospital. The incompetent surgeon continued to enjoy his quality of life, career and income, while my quality of life was reduced to near death, loss of career, income and chronic 24/7 pain. Whatever happened to "First do no harm?" How does this surgeon live with the permanent harm, suffering and death he has caused others?
ALEXISJune 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm
MY MOM WENT TO THE ER FOR Viral meningitis and the nurse who was drawing her blood gave her nurve damage in both her hands.
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