California Hospitals Jeopardizing Patients Health

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We go to the hospital to have medical procedures done so we can feel healthy. This is not the case right now as the California Department of Public Health fined at total of 13 hospitals for mistakes made in 2008-2009; mistakes that cost lives.

"In issuing these administrative penalties, our goal is to improve the quality of healthcare at all California hospitals," said Kathleen Billingsley, deputy director of the California Department of Public Health. "We want California hospitals to be successful in their efforts to reduce hospital acquired infections, decrease medical errors and eliminate surgical errors." Billingsley claims that money from the penalties will “eventually” be used on projects "to determine how these violations or deficiencies can be decreased and eliminated over time."

The fines included John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital for failures in nursing staff including competency, patient monitoring as well as the safe administration of medications. One of the penalties resulted from the death of a 2-day-old baby.

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Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach had a metal wheelchair gurney in a room with an MRI machine resulting in magnetic force crushing left lower extremity of a patient.

At Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, a surgeon marked and removed the wrong side of the skull of a 93-year-old man undergoing surgery during repair of a bleed in his brain. Meanwhile at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, emergency room staff failed to accurately diagnose a patient with a hemoglobin count below half of what is normal and the patient died in the lobby.

At Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Oakland, emergency room staff failed to double-check medication orders resulting in the patient being put on a ventilator and was brain dead. Other California hospital violations included leaving items like sponges, gauze and other foreign objects a inside a patients requiring additional procedures to remove them.

Ensuring quality patient care is vital to protecting and promoting the health of all Californians," said Dr. Mark Horton, the CDPH's director. "We will continue to work with California hospitals to attain our shared goal of excellence in patient care."

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