San Diego

Three San Diego-Area Hospitals Fined for Unsafe Practices

The California Department of Public Health detailed the safety practices and their consequences.

Three local hospitals have been fined for safety practice violations that include burning a newborn baby, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital in San Diego, Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista and Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Diego were fined after investigations revealed the facilities did not comply with licensing requirements. Their failures were likely to cause serious injury or death to patients.

In 2013, a newborn baby was badly burned at Kaiser Hospital, according to DPH.

The baby was put under an “unregulated radiant heat warmer” after its birth, spiking the child’s temperature to more than 107 degrees, according to the report.

The infant suffered second and third degree burns to the groin and thigh area after it was not properly monitored. A director at the hospital failed to report the incident, according to the report, saying the burns were not considered a “serious disability.”

"When an adverse outcome occurs, even if standard medical procedures were followed, we rigorously investigate the cause and work hard to make changes to help prevent it from occurring again. This reinforces our dedication to patient safety and our mission of providing the highest quality care possible."

At Scripps Mercy in Chula Vista, a failure to administer medicine within an hour of a doctor’s order resulted in a patient’s death, according to the report.

"We deeply regret that this occurred…We make no excuses for medical errors or lapses in the safe care of any patient. In response to this case, we disciplined or terminated the responsible employees, increased our training, and improved our processes… throughout our system.

At the San Diego County's Psychiatric Hospital, one employee resigned, another was suspended and a third disciplined after fracturing a patient’s arm in 2013.

Investigators say those employees did not follow the hospital's "de-escalation policy" when they grabbed a patient's arm during a “tussle,” while the patient was “agitated” and “abusive.”

Scripps Mercy was fined $50,000 as a penalty and it is the hospital’s first immediate jeopardy administrative penalty. Kaiser Foundation Hospital was penalized $75,000 and it is the hospital’s third immediate jeopardy administrative penalty. The Psychiatric Hospital was penalized $50,000 and it is the hospital’s first immediate jeopardy administrative penalty.

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