California health regulators have fined UC Irvine Medical Center and St. Jude Medical Center, two Orange County, California hospitals for patient safety violations.11 other California hospitals were fined for violations committed in 2007 and 2008.
UC Irvine Medical Center was fined two times for a total amount of $50,000. One fine was issued because the hospital neglected to respond quickly enough after a female patient reported that a male nursing assistant was touching her genitals in an inappropriate manner. After the patient complained about the alleged sex abuse incident, the worker continued to work at the hospital for another three days before being sent on leave.
Investigators that questioned hospital staff members as to why the nursing assistant was not placed on leave sooner replied that this was the first complaint filed against him and he was considered a good worker. According to a state investigative report, the detective on the case considered the sexual abuse accusation a credible one. The employee no longer works for UCI. Per the hospital's plan of correction, any employee accused of abuse will now be placed on leave as soon as possible.
UCI received a second fine because the hospital neglected to follow proper procedures to prevent fall accidents from happening. According to an investigative report from last June, a patient's brain bled after he got up from bed without assistance and he fell. He died after he was taken off life support. The Irvine hospital says it is taking steps to make sure such safety violations don't happen again.
Meantime, St. Jude Medical Center, located in Fullerton, was fined $25,000 after a surgical team left a plastic drape inside a patient's body during a hysterectomy. Workers failed to include the drape when counting surgical equipment. A second surgery had to be performed on the patient to remove the drape.
In addition to having to pay fines for patient safety violations, hospitals can be held accountable by injured patients that decide to file Orange County, California medical malpractice lawsuits.
Common hospital malpractice incidents that can lead to a California personal injury lawsuit include:
• Leaving a foreign object inside a patient
• Surgical malpractice
• Wrong diagnosis
• Failure to monitor a patient's condition
• Failure to treat a patient
• Failure to order the proper tests
• Failure to send patients to the proper specialists
• Anesthesia errors
• Medication mistakes
According to a 2007 study conducted by HealthGrades, an independent health care ratings firm, almost 3% of US hospital patients are at risk of becoming the victim of a hospital mistake. The study, which examined over 40 million Medicare hospital records from 2003 to 2005, found that there were 1.16 million patient safety violations that occurred during this time period that could have been prevented. 247,662 patients died from these incidents.
Two O.C. hospitals fined over patient-safety lapses, OC Register, May 20, 2009
Hospital Errors Put More Patients at Risk, ABC News, April 4, 2007
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To secure the maximum recovery possible for your medical malpractice cases, you need experienced Orange County, California personal injury lawyers that are on your side. Contact Howard Law, LLP today.