The California Department of Public Health on Thursday issued fines totaling $233,650 for three San Diego hospitals after investigations that found severe patient safety violations.
• Sharp Memorial Hospital was fined $86,625 for a sponge being left in a surgery patient, which wasn’t discovered until weeks later and required additional surgery, according to a public health department report. Fines require a corrective plan, and Sharp’s includes “count audits” and using “clear plastic bags (instead of red biohazard bags) to collect removed sponges for easier visualization and counting.”
• Sharp Coronado Hospital and Healthcare Center received a $47,025 fine. A man who walked into its emergency department was not properly triaged by a nurse, and he later locked himself in a bathroom and attempted suicide, states the department’s report. In its corrective plan, Sharp said it ensures through audits that emergency department patients are immediately seen by a nurse and that nurses received “re-education” on gaining emergency access to locked doors.
• A $100,000 fine was levied against Vibra Hospital of San Diego after a patient with several medical issues fell in his room and his head struck the ground. He died a few days later. It was found that nurses had not conducted a proper fall assessment. The hospital held mandatory training for all clinical staff, and staff follow additional reporting and training mechanisms, according to its correction plan.
The three hospitals were among 10 across the state that the department fined for incidents that occurred from 2012 to 2016, totaling $618,002 in fines.