$300,000 in Fines for San Diego County Hospitals

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has fined five hospitals in San Diego County because of safety violations. Three of the fines come after patients have died while under the care of the hospitals. One patient death resulted after falling from a bed, the others from nurses administering improper dosages of morphine and heart medication.

At Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, a patient died after she was given a dose of morphine 33 times stronger than the correct dose because an infusion pump was programmed incorrectly. The hospital was fined $75,000 because of a previous violation in 2010.

At Pomerado Hospital in Poway, the staff did not follow its fall prevention policies and a patient who had been confused and agitated was left alone. He fell, fractured his skull and died. The institution was fined $75,000 for its third infraction.

At Sharp Memorial Hospital in Serra Mesa, a patient died after a nurse trainee who was not being supervised administered an incorrect and higher dose of medicine for congestive heart failure. The penalty was $25,000.

Other cases include two where surgical instruments were left inside the patient.

At Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, a 28-inch guide wire was left in the femoral artery in a patient’s thigh and was not discovered until a follow-up procedure was done almost a month later. The hospital has been cited four times in the past, and was fined $75,000.

At Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, a patient needed to have a second surgery to remove a 12-inch retractor that was left in her body during hemorrhoidal surgery. It was the hospital’s first violation and it received a $50,000 penalty.

Each hospital was required to submit a plan to prevent incidents like these from occurring in the future. You can read more information on the Ramona Sentinel website.