Two San Francisco hospitals are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, after state healthcare regulators said they failed to properly treat patients who died in their care.
According to the California Department of Public Health, SF's Kaiser Permanente Medical Center owes $147,000 for two 2016 incidents, both if which ended in patient deaths.
Bay City News reports that in the first death cited by CA DPH, "hospital staff failed to properly use dialysis equipment and a tube used for extracting blood from a patient’s femoral artery came loose...the patient suffered 'massive blood loss and cardiac arrest' and died two days later."
In the second death, hospital staff failed "to properly use a tracheotomy tube," causing the patient's demise.
California Pacific Medical Center's St. Luke Campus was also hit with a fine of $47,452.50. In that case, the Chron reports, "a female patient fell in 2015 while under the care of hospital staff, hit her head, underwent brain surgery and died."
In a written statement, Kaiser spokesperson Barbara Crawford says “we sincerely regret that these incidents occurred and extend our sympathy to the families involved...While such cases are rare, we take full responsibility for the provision of safe, quality care to our patients.”
Crawford says that Kaiser has “implemented systemic improvements and training for our nurses, physicians, and staff,” changes she says "have been approved by state regulators."
Speaking to the St. Luke's fatality, a spokesperson tells the Chron that they immediately reported the death “to the appropriate regulatory agencies and initiated a quality improvement process to ensure it does not happen again.”
Two other Bay Area hospitals were also fined for significant errors, the DPH says. Redwood City's Sequoia Hospital faces a $47,452.50 fine for a February 2016 incident in which they mistakenly removed a woman's ovaries, when only her uterus, fallopian tubes and appendix were supposed to be excised. "The procedure was entered incorrectly in the hospital’s surgical schedule" the Chron reports, "and the woman will need estrogen replacement therapy for life."
Napa’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center "received three fines — more than any other hospital on the list — totaling $225,000 for cases involving three different patients who were the victims of substandard care in 2013," BCN reports. The alleged errors left two patients dead and a third in a persistent vegetative state.