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Immediate Jeopardy Fines for 12 California Hospitals

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 21, 2012

7. At Methodist Hospital of Southern California, Arcadia, Los Angeles, surgeons neglected to remove a sponge from a patient who was admitted for removal of the gallbladder.

Investigators said that the patient "returned to the facility five different times after his discharge home with the complaint of chest pain, headache, and not able to urinate," and was ultimately readmitted when a radiology report indicated “a foreign body reaction or abscess," which required another surgical procedure to remove it.

Staff told investigators that the counts of all the surgical items used were "correct."

The penalty is $50,000. This is the hospital's first penalty.

8. At Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, Mission Viejo, Orange County, an apparently hurried operating room schedule resulted in surgeons failing to remove a surgical sponge from a patient admitted for a coronary artery bypass operation.

A clinical coordinator told investigators that "the operating room staff had felt 'pressured' because the next case was due and the final count was done prematurely before the cavity was closed."

Also, the nurse had documented the initial, additional, and final sponge counts as "correct."

The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital's fifth penalty.

9. Also at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, Mission Viejo, Orange County, surgeons operated on the wrong part of a scoliosis patient's spine. Although an X-ray was available to mark the site for surgery, "however, there were no films in the operating room during the surgery," the facility's risk manager told investigators.

Also, the surgeon "had not marked the skin at the surgical site preoperatively and had not read the radiologist's report of the post-operative X-ray of the spine."

The penalty is $100,000. This is the hospital's sixth penalty.

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