Two patients were badly burned by flash fires when surgical cautery devices came too close to oxygen, a patient died when given two clot busting drugs against guidelines, and another patient died because of a preventable fall in the latest round of medical errors leading to fines in California hospitals.
Eight California hospitals have received a total of $775,000 in fines for placing 10 patients in immediate jeopardy of serious injury or death, according to the state Department of Public Health. Two hospitals received two fines each for separate incidents.
Under California law, penalties between $25,000 and $100,000 have been issued to more than 170 hospitals since regulations took effect in 2007, for a total of nearly $16 million in penalties. By law, the money is supposed to be allocated to quality improvement programs throughout the state. As of April 1, the maximum penalty rose to $125,000 for a third and subsequent violation.
For one of the hospitals, Southwest Healthcare System in Murrieta, an organization that almost lost its Medicare funding in 2010, two immediate jeopardy citations bring the hospital's violation count to 11, the highest in the state.
For each hospital, a plan of correction is required and is listed in each CDPH statement of deficiency, seen in the following slideshow.