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Medical Errors Draw $770,000 in Fines in CA

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2014

8. At St. Joseph Hospital, Orange
County: Orange
Penalty: $50,000

A patient undergoing a Cesarean section coded and required resuscitation because staff failed to alert a physician that her blood pressure had dropped and her heart rate had increased for four hours.

"After a change of shift in the post-operative recovery room, the oncoming RN was unaware of the patient's pre-operative laboratory results and did not review the patient's pre-operative vital signs?or any vital signs taken prior to the change of shift."

There was no further status documentation "until the hospital's Medical Emergency Team was called?the patient had a seizure, required ventilation and was transferred to the ICU where the patient had a cardiac arrest," according to state documents. "The patient's condition deteriorated and she passed away."

This is the hospital's third administrative penalty.

Harm to Psychiatric Patients
California also issued immediate jeopardy fines totaling $295,000 to five hospitals where patients who were undergoing care related to mental or behavioral health were harmed. Documents detailing these incidents can not be released according to confidentially provisions in state law. Those organizations and their fines:

  • Aurora San Diego ? $75,000
  • LAC/Harbor-UCLA Medical Center ? $75,000
  • Memorial Hospital Los Banos ? $20,000
  • Pacifica Hospital of the Valley ? $50,000
  • University of California Irvine Medical Center ? $75,000

State officials released no other information on these incidents.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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