Officials with the California State Department of Public Health today issued fines against 14 hospitals for not complying with various licensing requirements that according to the state, resulted in serious injuries or deaths.
Fresno's Saint Agnes Medical Center was fined $50,000 after personnel left a towel inside a patient who underwent abdominal surgery in 2010. A second surgery was later required to remove the towel four months later. The state found that Saint Agnes "failed to implement their surgical count procedure." The hospital will also now use towels that are detectable with x-rays when performing such surgeries.
The hospital issued the following statement today about the incident.
Delivering safe patient care is our No. 1 priority at Saint Agnes Medical Center and a commitment shared by every one of our caregivers and staff. Our goal is always to provide the safest and highest quality of care possible. In this particular case, we did not meet that goal. However, once we recognized our mistake, we took immediate corrective actions. This included self-reporting the issue to the state and conducting a thorough analysis of our process and policies to ensure that we have the necessary safeguards in place. Once the state conducted its review, it acknowledged that appropriate action had been taken and patients were not at risk.