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Department of Public Health Fines Nine California Hospitals

Public HealthWhen you require medical care, you deserve to receive the care you need from a hospital and staff that comply with all federal, state, and local standards and regulations. The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Licensing and Certification Division (L&C) is tasked with licensing, regulating, inspecting, and certifying health centers and certain medical professionals throughout the state.

The L&C conduct site inspections on a periodic basis to ensure that facilities are in full compliance with all applicable laws, guidelines, and best practices. The division also investigates complaints made against hospitals—conducting an estimated 27,000 investigations based on complaints each year.

Nearly $550,000 in Fines

In late December 2017, the CDPH announced the issuance of 10 fines to nine hospitals throughout California for noncompliance with licensing requirements. The fines totaled $549,555, and each was the result of an issue that caused or was likely to cause serious injury or death to a patient. Some of the most notable violations included:

  • A $100,000 fine against Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara for not providing a safe environment for a 93-year-old patient with suicidal intentions. The patient reportedly told several nurses that he planned to fall and hit his head so that he could die. The CDPH found that the staff never notified the security guard assigned to monitor the patient. The man carried out his suicide plan in August 2015 with no staff members in his room to prevent his death;
  • An $82,500 fine against Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs for a botched blood transfusion in 2014. The CDPH determined that a nurse in the emergency room used the wrong blood type during a transfusion leading to kidney failure and a prolonged hospital stay for the patient;
  • A $66,600 fine against California Pacific Medical Center – Davies Campus Hospital in San Francisco for failing to prevent a patient fall in 2016. The patient was at risk for a fall and was not to be left alone, but she was left on her own anyway. When she tried to stand, she fell face-first to the floor. The fall contributed to her death several months later. The same hospital was also fined $47,452.50 for a medication error that was linked to a stroke patient’s death in 2015;
  • A $47,250 fine against Doctors Medical Center in Modesto for failing to monitor a patient who exhibited inappropriate sexual behavior. The CDPH found that in 2016, after being left unattended, the patient entered another patient’s room and sexually assaulted her.
Injured While in the Hospital?

It is important to realize that licensing violations are not automatically instances of hospital malpractice. However, if a complaint is serious enough to warrant a fine from the CDPH, affected victims may be able to collect compensation from the facility in question.

If you or someone you love has been injured during a hospital stay, contact an experienced San Jose medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case. We will help you explore your options and ensure that your rights are fully protected every step of the way. Call (408) 289-1417 for a free consultation today.

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