Health officials fine hospitals in San Diego for endangering pat - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Health officials fine hospitals in San Diego for endangering patients

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Five hospitals in San Diego County were assessed penalties Thursday by the California Department of Public Health for failing to follow policies that ensure patient safety.

They were among 12 medical centers around the state that were cited, according to the CDPH.

- Palomar Medical Center was fined $75,000 for the Feb. 9, 2010, death of a cancer patient who received a dose of morphine 33 times stronger than she was supposed to receive. The CDPH found errors in programming a pump that delivered the drug to the woman.

- Pomerado Hospital was fined $75,000 because a confused and agitated patient was left unattended on Jan. 31, 2010, and he got out of bed and fell, suffering skull fractures and bleeding within his brain. He died four days later.

- Scripps Encinitas Medical Center was fined $50,000 for leaving a piece of medical equipment inside the abdomen of a 66-year-old woman who underwent surgery on April 16, 2010. She had to have a second operation to remove the device.

- Scripps Memorial Hospital was fined $75,000 for leaving a 28-inch guide wire for a medical device inside an 82-year-old patient's right femoral artery for 29 days in April and May of 2009.

- Sharp Memorial Hospital was fined $25,000 for the 2008 death of a heart attack patient given an overdose of a drug by a nurse the agency said was not competent to work in the intensive care unit.

The facilities can appeal within 10 days. Otherwise, they have to submit plans to correct the problems to prevent future incidents.

Officials with Palomar Pomerado Health and Scripps Health said the incidents were self-reported to the state agency.

"Complete and thorough reviews were completed for each incident and extensive action plans were identified to address the issues," according to a PPH statement. "All follow-up actions were completed and accepted by the California Department of Public Health."

Scripps Health also released a statement, saying new procedures are in place to prevent a recurrence of the incidents.

"At Scripps, we treat hundreds of thousands of patients each year with excellent outcomes," the statement said. "On the rare occasion where an error occurs, we work to understand the underlying cause and improve the quality of our care."

Officials at Sharp Healthcare said nurses and pharmacy staff have gone through more training on procedures and safeguards when administering medicine through infusion pumps.

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