The California Department of Public Health has fined thirteen hospitals for
medical errors that posed a risk to patient safety. As San Diego medical malpractice
attorneys, we are concerned that several local hospitals were penalized.
Three of the hospitals, including Kaiser Foundation in San Diego, were
cited for leaving a piece of medical equipment in surgical patients. Foreign
objects are the most common reason for hospital penalties, followed by
medication errors, according to the CA DPH.
In the San Diego Kaiser case, a 2-foot-long surgical towel was left in
the abdomen of a 69-year-old woman who developed excessive bleeding during
gallbladder surgery. The towel remained in the patient for 16 months until
she was readmitted for a suspicious abdominal mass. The hospital was fined $50,000.
UC San Diego Medical Center was also fined by the state for failing to
provide “considerate and respectful care” to an emergency
room patient. According to the report, she refused to leave the hospital
after seeking treatment for a burn on the roof of her mouth. After refusing
a cab, the obese patient was carried, face down, by hospital staff to
the sidewalk, where she remained. When she was finally rolled over, her
lips were blue. Staff performed CPR and she spent a month recovering in
Los Angeles Times