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Hospitals face fines for overdose, leaving sponge in patient

December 8, 2011 | 10:51 am

The California Department of Public Health issued $850,000 in fines against 14 hospitals for medical errors that caused — or were likely to cause — serious injury or death to patients, officials announced Thursday.

Three of the hospitals — Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and Torrance Memorial Medical Center — were in Los Angeles County.

The Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital was fined $50,000 after giving a patient an overdose of an antibiotic, causing his kidneys to fail and him to require dialysis. The state report said the doctor's order was unclear. 

The state fined Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center $25,000 for failing to remove a sponge from a patient who had had abdominal surgery. The person had to undergo a second surgery to remove the sponge. This was the county hospital's fifth administrative penalty.

Torrance Memorial Medical Center also received a fine of $75,000 for the same error, this time on a patient with esophageal cancer.

For incidents that occurred before 2009, the fines are $25,000. But a law that year raised the fine amounts to $50,000 for the first offense, $75,000 for the second and $100,000 for the third and subsequent error.

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— Anna Gorman

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