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Medical Errors Draw $770,000 in Fines in CA

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2014

"In addition, nursing staff did not report to the doctor the abnormal signs and symptoms of Patient 1's reaction to the heparin treatment (bleeding at the groin incision site, low blood pressure, and lethargy) until two and a half hours after first observed. These failures resulted in a delay in Patient 1 receiving treatment for the heparin overdose, leading to a continued decline in condition. As a result, Patient 1 expired."

This is Mercy's second administrative penalty.

6. Regional Medical Center of San Jose, San Jose
County: Santa Clara County
Penalty: $50,000
A patient sustained severe neurological damage after a nurse inadvertently connected a cylinder of carbon dioxide gas to tubing for ventilation instead of oxygen.

"Failure of the patient to receive oxygen as ordered caused the patient to become hypoxic (without oxygen) which required emergency medical treatment for stabilization. The patient suffered significant medical complications, including neurological damage, as a result of the incident.

This is the hospital's first administrative penalty.

7. At Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
County: Los Angeles
Penalty: $75,000

An incorrect surgical object count resulted in a patient leaving the operating room with a retained surgical lap sponge, and having to undergo a second surgery days later to remove it.

Several days later, the patient received a CT of the abdomen and pelvis due to nausea, increased white blood cells and was to be evaluated for fluid collection. "The diagnostic report showed a 'lap marker' (the string to grab the sponge) adjacent to the right lobe of the liver with surrounding gas and fluid and that the collection measured 11x4 centimeters."

This is the hospital's second administrative penalty.

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