Hospitals Fined by CDPH for Alleged Medication Mistakes

In recent article that our Maryland-based Medical Mistake Attorneys have been following, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has fined 13 hospitals in California $650,000 for 16 medical mistakes that have caused serious patient injury, harm, or even wrongful death in 2008 and 2009.

In one hospital pharmacy error in Oakland, California, a 90-year old emergency room patient at Kaiser Foundation Hospital, received a variety of blood pressure and stomach ulcer medications that were meant for another patient. The emergency room staff did not double check the medication orders sent from the pharmacy, and the patient went into severe respiratory distress after receiving the potassium chloride by mistake.

A rapid response team was sent in and the patient was reportedly breathing four to six breaths per minute with a fluctuating blood pressure. The man was intubated and put on a ventilator for breathing. Further testing proved that the patient lost brain function from the medication error. A physician interviewed by the California Health investigators claimed that he could not rule out the possibility that the medication mistake caused a severe change in the patient’s health.

In another case, at California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, a patient was incorrectly given the drug Methotrexate, or chemotherapy, as a treatment for ectopic pregnancy—even though the patient was not in fact pregnant. Over the following week, the patient reportedly developed immune suppression, renal function decline, severe leukopenia and neutropenia, and oral, skin and esophageal ulcerations due to the medication error. The investigators reported that using chemotherapeutic medication on a patient who was not pregnant subjected the patient to serious health complications, physical harm, and injury.

According to the CDPH, each hospital was fined $50,000 for failing to implement and procedures for the safe administering of medicine. The money received from these penalties will be used on projects to discover how these violations happened, and how future medical errors can be prevented in hospitals, to keep patients from enduring personal injury, physical harm, or even wrongful death.

At Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, our lawyers are experienced in defending medication error victims and their loved ones in the Washington D.C. area or in the state of Maryland. Contact us today at 1-800-654-1949 to schedule your free consultation, and receive the personal injury compensation you deserve.

California Hospitals Fined for Alleged Immediate Jeopardy Mistakes, Health Leaders Media, January 28, 2010
Bay Area Medical Mistakes: The Facts,, January 28, 2010
CDPH Issues 16 Administrative Penalties to 13 Hospitals, CDPH Press Release, January 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:

California Department of Public Health: (CDPH)

National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention, (NCCMERP)

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