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LA hospital treated babies despite staff shortages

Mercury News, October 13, 2010

A Los Angeles hospital recently kept critically ill babies in its intensive care unit despite staff shortages that prompted regulators two years ago to downgrade its status and require it to transfer those infants to better equipped facilities, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

State investigators found that the Olive View-University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center lacked enough neonatologists and staff to properly care for newborns in its neonatal ICU, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Staffing problems caused the neonatal unit's status to be downgraded from "community" to "intermediate" two years ago. The hospital was required to transfer infants to better equipped facilities if they needed surgery or were placed on ventilators for more than four hours, said Norman Williams, a spokesman for the California Department of Health Services.

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