Two San Diego hospitals are being penalized for putting patients in danger.
The California Department of Public Health issued a citation and a $50,000 fine against Kaiser Hospital in Mission Gorge because a surgical team mistakenly left a 1-by-2-foot surgery towel inside a patient's abdomen.
Kaiser Hospital issued the following statement to NBC 7 San Diego:
“We very much regret what this patient experienced. On the day of the operation, the Operating Room team fought hard to save this patient's life and was successful in doing so. During the fight to save the patient’s life, a sterile towel was left inside the patient’s abdomen. While these incidents are very uncommon, we take them seriously. We reported the event immediately, and cooperated fully with CDPH’s investigation. We also took immediate action to identify how and why this incident occurred, and undertook extensive efforts to analyze the event and made changes that will help prevent it from happening again.”
UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest was also cited and fined $75,000 for mishandling a patient who did not want to leave the Emergency Room. That patient had a heart attack outside the hospital, after she put up a fight with hospital employees.
UCSD Hospital released a response to the fines, saying:
"In 2011, UC San Diego Health System participated in a state investigation related to an incident that occurred outside the Hillcrest Emergency Department (ED). The corrections, approved by CDPH, involved modifications to safety policies and increased staff education for which we are in full compliance. Every issue related to the ED is 100 percent resolved. We have since expanded our facilities and increased the number of beds to care for a growing number of ED patients. We continue staff training and are vigilant about achieving the highest standards of patient safety and care."
The state public health department penalized 13 hospitals with fines totaling $825,000 after determining the facilities likely caused serious injury or death to patients.