Recently 12 separate hospitals were fined after numerous medical mistakes were found to have occurred. Some of these medical mistakes resulted in personal injury, while others resulted in death. Each mistake that was found also equated to a fine between $50,000 and $75,000, which the individual hospitals can choose to appeal.
The mistakes ranged from a patient being given the wrong medication to objects being left inside of a patient.
In one of the cases reviewed by state public health officials, it was determined that a sponge was left behind during a surgery because medical staff did not accurately count how many sponges there were, and at the time a nurse on staff was rushing to go on a lunch break.
In another non-deadly accident -- but still very serious -- a burn patient ended up having neurological damage after he was given anesthesia by a nurse who was unsupervised.
And while some patients fully recovered from some of these mistakes, others were not as lucky, as one 76-year-old died after he was given methadone that was intended for another patient he shared a room with. And, in another incident an 82-year-old fell while attempting to get out of his wheelchair. He too later died from the injuries he sustained.
In that falling case, the report found the hospital accountable since proper procedures to prevent falls were not being followed at the time.
In general, even though these cases took place in another state, these kind of mistakes can happen in any hospital, including ones here in Louisiana. Because of the severity of these mistakes, it's also important for anyone who has been hurt due to medical malpractice to contact a qualified attorney to see if there could be a legal case against the hospital and/or doctor or medical staff that erred.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "12 California hospitals fined for medical errors," Anna Gorman, Sept. 7, 2011