Many hospitals in California were fined for violation of the non-compliance of the standard regulatory measures imposed by the California Department of Public Health. About 13 hospitals were sanctioned because of violation of their licensing requirements that resulted to cause injury and even death to many patients.
These fines are referred to by the authorities as administrative penalties resulting from the infraction of their commitment to follow the required regulatory policies to be implemented by hospitals to ensure safety of their patients. Covering the period between 2008 and 2009, the administrative fines imposed by the California Department of Public Health amounted to thousands of dollars. In 2008, the fine was set at $25,000 while in 2009 it went up to $100,000 for the third offense.
In contrast to the existing law in 2008 that imposed a lower administrative fine, a new law was passed by the legislative body, approved by the California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, that increased the fine more than two folds. This strengthens the government campaign against the jeopardy that the public may be at risk because of negligence of hospitals to adhere to the regulatory measures required for them to observe.
Hospitals are not deprived to raise an appeal before a hearing when charged with administrative fines. They are however mandated to implement corrective measures on areas where they are found to be negligent in order to prevent future risks to which their patients are exposed.
Among the grounds for the imposition of the administrative fine includes misdiagnosis. In one incident, a hospital was fined $50,000 because the resident doctor misdiagnosed a woman admitted for ectopic pregnancy when the patient is in fact not pregnant. The patient was prescribed to take an immunosuppressive drug that caused her to suffer from sores that developed in her mouth and throat with skin breakouts.
Another hospital, the Los Angeles Community Hospital in California, was fined to pay $50,000 for failure to implement the doctor’s order to restrain the patient who has the tendency to remove his tracheotomy tube that eventually resulted to his death. Other hospitals were fined for inaccurate diagnosis of their patient’s condition that includes the Orange County,Hoag Memorial Hospital and Newport Beach.
Other incidents of negligence of the hospital to observe the highest standard of care to their patient include the patient whose leg was pinned down between the magnet metal housing of the equipment and the metal wheelchair. The John F.Kennedy Memorial Hospital did not escape liability when the hospital staff failed to monitor their patient’s vital signs, when the injection was erroneously given subcutaneously resulting in cardiac damage and an infant death due to improper care.
There are many other hospitals in California that suffered from the sanction of paying administrative fines with more than134 fines imposed by the federal government in 2007 alone against 90 hospitals that amount to $2.3 million. With this stringent policy of the California Public Health Department the public will have better confidence on the quality of standards with hospitals in California striving hard to meet the required standard of care and quality of public health service.