Marina Del Rey Hospital has been fined $25,000 by the California Department of Public Health for allegedly failing to follow its policies and procedures in the treatment of a patient in 2007.
The Lincoln Boulevard hospital was one of 16 medical centers statewide that have received administrative penalties after the Department of Public Health found that their noncompliance with licensing requirements “has caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients,” department officials said.
It was the first administrative penalty to be issued to Marina Del Rey Hospital.
“Ensuring quality patient care is vital to protecting and promoting the health of all Californians,” said Dr. Mark Horton, California Department of Public Health director. “We will continue to work with California hospitals to attain our shared goal of excellence in patient care.”
According to a department report, the Marina hospital allegedly failed to ensure that a registered nurse directly provided an ongoing assessment of the respiratory status of a female patient who was being treated for a collapsed lung in early 2007. The hospital allegedly failed to continuously assess the oxygen level of the patient that showed a decrease in oxygen over a 24-minute period, the report states.
The incident resulted in a “code blue” being called and the patient being connected to a ventilator, the report says.
Marina Del Rey Hospital CEO Fred Hunter said in a statement that the patient’s condition had deteriorated in the ten days following her admission and she was placed on a ventilator. The woman died eight days later after being removed from the ventilator with the family’s approval, Hunter said.
After conducting an internal investigation, the hospital found that the patient’s care was appropriate and another investigation also found no evidence of negligent conduct, Hunter said.
“Regrettably, the department’s investigation was incomplete as the (department) investigator failed to interview a key witness and never met with key hospital administrators to discuss their findings,” he said.
Lisa Aznar, the daughter of the patient, said her mother was about to be transferred to a respiratory rehabilitation center at the time she was placed on the ventilator. She had decided not to pursue a legal challenge of the incident but rather write a letter to the health department requesting a thorough investigation.
“I am confident that their report is an accurate assessment of the events documented in my mother’s medical records,” Aznar said.
Hunter said the hospital immediately responded with a plan of correction as required by the public health department. He added that the hospital remains committed to enhancing its policies and is confident that it has fully complied with the department’s requests.