2 California Hospitals Fined for Patient Deaths

UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest and Palomar Medical Center in San Diego will have to pay thousands of dollars in fines after two patients died due to safety failures at the hospitals.

The California Department of Public Health levied fines against two San Diego-area hospitals this month for safety failures that led to the deaths of two patients.

UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest was fined $100,000 for an incident in which a disoriented patient left his bed and was found dead in a canyon five days later. Palomar Medical Center will pay $50,000 after a 68-year-old man fell from his hospital bed and suffered a fatal injury, the Times of San Diego reports.

According to the health department’s investigation, UCSD Medical Center had broken alarm systems that it didn’t fix. When nurses tried to reach security about patient Thomas Vera by pager, phone and a panic button, it took 10 minutes to get a response. It was later determined that the panic button at the nurse’s station near Vera’s bed was inoperative.

Similarly, an alarm that was set to sound when a patient tried to leave a bed did not go off at Palomar Medical Center. Staff later acknowledged that the alarm had been turned off when the patient fell from his bed, NBC San Diego reports. 

UCSD Medical Center and Palomar Medical Center are two of ten hospitals across California facing fines up to $700,000 following health department investigations. The hospitals will have to submit plans to correct mistakes to the department.

Photo Wikimedia

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