Scripps Mercy Chula Vista was one of 10 hospitals across California to receive a fine from Department of Public Health for conduct that injured or killed a patient. The Chula Vista hospital was fined $25,000 for the death of a female patient on February 29, 2008.
According to reports, the woman arrived in the Emergency Department on February 29th with high blood pressure and difficulty breathing. The E.R. doctor ordered saline solution for the patient more than 2 1/2 hours after lab results showed her sodium level was critically low. For reasons unknown, the hospital failed to quickly process the order, and the patient was transferred to the I.C.U approximately three hours after arrival never having received the saline solution.
An I.C.U. nursing realized that the saline had not been received, so another request was faxed to the pharmacy. The solution arrived about an hour later, but the nurse took a short break without administering it. The patient suffered heart failure about 10 minutes later, and died within a half hour.
The hospital’s chief of staff admitted that the hospital needed “to do a better job of identifying who’s in charge of the patient at any given point in time when they’re in the hospital,” but denied that quicker treatment would have saved the woman’s life.
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