Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2010

California public health officials have imposed the first $100,000 fine under a new system of penalties for hospitals that put patients at risk of death or serious injury, the Los Angeles Times reports. Southwest Healthcare System in Murrieta was assessed the fine after investigators determined that doctors at its Rancho Springs Medical Center performed caesarean sections on three women in October using electrical cauterizing instruments in a delivery room with dangerously low humidity, creating conditions that could have sparked a fire. Southwest Healthcare was among seven hospitals fined in the most recent round announced by the California Department of Public Health.

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