Sharp Fined $100K for Patient Who Fell Off Table

The hospital did not have straps to accommodate the morbidly obese patient

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The state has fined Sharp Memorial Hospital $100,000 after a patient fell off a table and fractured her back during a procedure.

    The incident happened in 2012, according to a report from the California Department of Public Health released Thursday. Read the full report here

    The patient, a 73-year-old woman who was bedridden at a long-term care facility, came to Sharp Memorial Hospital for stomach pain, according to the report. She suffered from multiple medical conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular problems, kidney disease, morbid obesity and involuntary muscle movement.

    As the doctor tried to insert a catheter, the patient fell off the table and onto the floor, the report said. The woman fractured a vertebra and had to have surgery on her spine.

    The doctor told the state he assumed the patient was secured to the table. In reality, the Interventional Radiology (IR) department did not have straps large enough for the obese woman, according to the report.

    Sharp has made several changes since the accident. The IR department has purchased straps to accommodate larger patients and developed a new process to assess a patient’s Body Mass Index before a procedure, the report said.

    The state fined seven other hospitals in this latest round of penalties, totaling $775,000. They include Southwest Healthcare in Murrieta, Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Riverside, Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Anaheim, Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino and St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley.

    This is Sharp Memorial Hospital’s fifth administrative penalty from the state.

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