Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Warrant served and documents seized at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center

November 4, 2010 |  4:01 pm

A search warrant was served Thursday on San Bernardino’s county-owned Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, authorities said.

FBI agents and San Bernardino district attorney's investigators seized documents at the 456-bed hospital in Colton but authorities would not say what they took or comment on the focus of the investigation. The investigation was coordinated by the San Bernardino County Joint Corruption Task Force, according to a statement released by San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Michael A. Ramos.

Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI office in Los Angeles, said her agency was called in to assist with the investigation, and referred questions to the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office.

The warrant, filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court, has been sealed, according to Susan Mickey, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

“The investigation today by the FBI and the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office does not involve the quality of patient care or treatment,” at the hospital, Mickey said.

Hospital spokesman Jorge Valencia referred all questions about the investigation to authorities. He said Arrowhead Regional was still open and treating patients Thursday.

“It’s business as usual here,” Valencia said.

Last year, Arrowhead Regional was fined $25,000 by the California Department of Public Health after investigators found a surgical sponge was left inside a 26 year-old woman when she had her right ovary and fallopian tube removed in October 2008. The woman had to undergo a second surgery the next month to have the sponge removed, according to the investigator’s report.

Of 95 complaints filed with state regulators against the hospital since 2004, 28 have been substantiated, including complaints concerning patient dumping, restraints and accidents, according to California Department of Public Health records.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske