Readers of our Eugene medical malpractice blog may be interested to know that several California hospitals have recently been fined over patient safety. A total of seven hospitals in the state were fined $775,000 in penalties by the Department of Public Health in an effort to curtail incidents of hospital negligence.
One of the hospitals assessed penalties was The Memorial Medical Center of Modesto. The facility was ordered to pay $125,000 in fines for safety violations that placed its patients in jeopardy. According to an investigation, a 65-year-old patient died at the hospital after going in for a routine kidney stone surgery. The man stopped breathing for 17 minutes during the outpatient procedure. An anesthesiologist tried to resuscitate the patient, but did not call a "code blue" to summon an emergency team. The delayed assistance caused severe brain damage, and the patient died several days later.
Another incident at the hospital involved a surgery being performed on the wrong patient. The investigation discovered that hospital staff mixed up ultrasound results of a patient with a blood clot and another patient with no blood clot. In an effort to prevent the clot from traveling to the lungs and heart, doctors mistakenly performed a procedure on the patient with no blood clot. This patient was later notified, and the procedure was reversed.
Although unnerving for patients, the findings of the investigation show that medical mistakes happen at even the best hospitals. Victims of these mistakes are not without recourse, however. Like in California, in many Oregon cases an Oregon medical malpractice attorney can file a civil claim for relief and recover compensation for the victims of malpractice.
Source: The Modesto Bee, "State fines Modesto's Memorial Medical Center $125,000 over patient safety," Ken Carlson, Feb. 6, 2013