Five Bay Area hospitals, including Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, were issued a total of $215,000 in penalties by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for noncompliance with policies and administrative errors that could have resulted in serious injury or death, the state agency announced Thursday (Dec. 8).
Two of those hospitals -- one in South San Francisco and another in Palo Alto -- were fined $50,000 each for violations related to the administration of medications.
Palo Alto's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital was issued a violation after the CDPH determined from a December 2010 survey that pharmacy technicians failed to properly dilute an intravenous medicine used to treat low chloride levels.
According to the violation issued to the hospital, the error resulted in a newborn patient being administered higher-than-intended doses of the medication. That patient experienced seizures after receiving the first dose of the too-potent medication and had to be treated with anticonvulsant drugs, even after discharge from the hospital, according to the CDPH.
"The failure of the facility to administer medication as ordered by the physician caused, or is likely to cause, serious injury or death to the patient," the statement of deficiencies read.
South San Francisco's Kaiser Foundation Hospital was fined $50,000 after the public health department determined the hospital failed to follow "its established policies and procedures for the safe and effective administration of medication."
Two San Francisco hospitals -- San Francisco General Hospital and the UCSF Medical Center -- were fined $50,000 and $75,000, respectively, for incidents in 2009.
Nine other hospitals outside of the Bay Area were also issued a total of $635,000 in penalties by the state for similar violations. The penalties vary in amount depending on the number of previous offenses. For incidents that occurred in 2009 or later, a first violation carries a fine of $50,000, which increases to $75,000 for second violations and $100,000 for subsequent violations. Violations that occurred before 2009 are not counted when determining a fine.