Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hospitals Slapped with $25,000 Fine each

Four local hospitals in San Diego County were each slapped with a $25,000 fine by the state agency following an incident of patient falling off an operating table and anesthesia equipment problems that resulted to the patient awareness of the surgery, among others.

The news was reported online by San Diego News.

The hospitals, which have been fined with $25,000 each, include the Palomar Pomerado Hospital in Poway, Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego, La Mesa’s Sharp Grossmont Hospital and Promise Hospital which was formerly called Villa View Community Hospital.

Palomar Pomerado Health System in Poway was fined when three of its patients experienced “surgical awareness” because a staff failed to keep anesthesia in a proper condition, the California Department of Health reported.

Surgical awareness is a state wherein a patient remains partially conscious during surgery and will most probably experience a lot of pain. According to reports, a hospital staff had already questioned whether the machine was functioning properly but they continued to use it anyway. The machine was pulled out only after one of the patients complained.

At Scripps Green Hospital in San Diego, a patient, as earlier mentioned fell off an operating table during surgery after a staff failed to properly restrained the patient and placed a slippery plastic biohazard bag on the mattress, while at Promise Hospital, an unlicensed staff person acted as a licensed nurse.

The worst occurred at Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa when a patient died after a staff failed to activate a stationary ventilator during a transfer.

All were fined $25,000 as part of government measures in “ensuring all Californians receive quality patient care.” Aside from this four, fines were levied against a total of 18 hospitals statewide for multiple violations – for “incidents that caused, or were likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients,” the DPH said.

Besides these fines, victims of these negligence and recklessness may institute actions for negligent torts or medical malpractice suits. To the victims and the family of victims of these four and other 18 hospitals who have been harmed further, instead of being taken cared of, the law allows you to go after those who are responsible for the injury or even after the hospital itself.