The defunct South Coast Medical Center was among six Southern California hospitals fined by the state for violations that ranged from sloppy operating procedures to death.
The California Department of Public Health announced Sept. 3 that 12 state hospitals have been assessed administrative penalties of $25,000 per violation after a determination that the facilities’ violations had or were likely to seriously injure patients or cause their death.
South Coast and two other hospitals were fined for not following proper surgical procedures.
Follow-up surgery was required to remove surgical sponges or towels left inside a patient allegedly by doctors or nurses. South Coast was owned by Adventist Health at the time of the violation.
“Patient safety and quality care is our primary focus,” Adventist Health spokeswoman Alicia Gonzales said. “We sincerely regret this error occurred. Adventist will pay the fine.”
This was South Coast’s first administrative penalty since the state was authorized to issue them in 2007.
Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, which acquired South Coast this year, was not among the penalized hospitals.
“We have never received this kind of fine from an external agency,” Mission spokeswoman Kelsey Martinez said.
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach was also fined $25,000 — for the death of a patient in December. In addition, Children’s Hospital in Orange County was fined because of a nursing error that resulted in severe brain injury.