CA Fines 14 Hospitals for Medical Errors

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , August 31, 2012

6. At Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, Fountain Valley, in Orange County, a licensed vocational nurse called by a staffing service was said to not be competent to care for bariatric surgery patients.

Nevertheless, she was assigned to care for such a patient, and incorrectly removed a gastrostomy tube without a physician's order, resulting in the patient developing blood clots in his left lower leg, bleeding, a prolonged hospital stay, and necessitating a second surgery.

The incident, which occurred in 2008, is the hospital's third penalty and resulted in a $25,000 fine.

7. At John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Indio, in Riverside County, a six-year-old boy had to undergo a second surgery to remove a growth after a surgeon performed the wrong surgery on his tongue.

"This failure resulted in Patient A being exposed to the risks of bleeding and infection, and unnecessary exposure to the risks associated with anesthesia that was needed to perform the right procedure," state documents say.

The surgeon told investigators that he couldn't be sure whether a time-out, which was said to have transpired according to the hospital's policies, was ever done.

"Either time-out was not done or it was done, but I could not recall what procedure was said," the surgeon told state investigators. The surgeon then said that team members, who should have known the correct procedure, should have asked why there was no specimen of tissue from the removed growth.

Asked whether he examined the patient prior to the surgery, the surgeon replied, "Usually, I don't examine anybody. In this case, there was no time to do pre-operative visit. From now on, I need to see the patient prior to surgery."

This is the hospital's fifth administrative penalty and comes with a $50,000 penalty.


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