A pair of Los Angeles-area hospitals were fined $50,000 by the state Department of Public Health for lapses in patient care, including one case in which a patient eventually died.

Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center was fined $50,000 for its 2012 treatment of a 66-year-old woman who was administered a series of medications in connection with a surgical procedure and was later found unresponsive.

During surgery and the post-operative period, “the patient received 19 doses of three types of narcotic medications within a six-hour time period,” according to the state. “In less than two hours after this time period, the staff found the patient unresponsive, not breathing and in cardiac arrest. … Subsequently, the patient’s pulse was restored but remained unresponsive due to anoxic — caused by absence of oxygen — brain injury.”

The woman died 10 days later.

Kaiser Permanente issued a statement saying patients’ safety “is paramount at all times.”

“Providing the highest quality care possible, including preventing harm, is core to our mission,” according to Kaiser. “Therefore we are committed to continuous quality improvement. This includes learning from any adverse event. When an adverse unanticipated outcome occurs, even if standard medical procedures were followed, we rigorously investigate the cause and work hard to make changes to help prevent it from occurring again.”

Beverly Hospital in Montebello was fined $50,000 for failing to “follow policies and procedures regarding the treatment and care of a patient” for a patient who suffered negative effects from having a nasal tube inserted.

According to the state, a hospital employee “attempted to insert a naso- gastric tube five times into (the patient’s) nose. As a result (the patient) had intermittent bleeding and blood clots from his nose and required two surgeries to stop the nose bleeding.”

A review of the patient’s care found that the hospital employee had minimal experience inserting such tubes and should have been supervised. After two or three unsuccessful attempts to insert the tube, a supervising nurse and doctor should have been notified, but there was no record of any such notifications, according to the state.

Beverly Hospital officials said they conducted an internal review into the incident, in addition to the state’s investigation.

“As a result of the review, the hospital submitted a corrective action plan that included comprehensive nurse education and policy revision that was approved and implemented,” according to the hospital. “The hospital took this matter very seriously and as a result of the training and changes to protocol, has met and exceeded the conditions of the state department corrective action plan.”

City News Service

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