Madera Community Hospital has been fined by the state for a surgery on the wrong side of the body of a patient that led to a delay in the targeted cancer being removed.
The California Department of Public Health said the hospital failed to prevent the surgery on the wrong side of the patient’s colon, which led to an unnecessary surgery and for the possibility of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.
The state said the wrong-side surgery on April 26, 2016, led to a delay of nearly nine months for the cancer to be removed on Jan. 13, 2017.
The second surgery for the cancerous colon was not performed at Madera Community Hospital.
The surgical error at Madera Community occurred because the hospital failed to verify the correct body site to be operated on and the doctor did not review the colonoscopy for the patient prior to the surgery, the state said. The colonoscopy showed a large tumor in the left colon. The doctor also failed to review the patient’s clinical record that said where the tumor was located, the state said.
The state fined Madera Community $47,025 for the incident.
The state did not identify the doctor or the patient. Madera Community didn’t, either, but said the doctor remains an active member of the medical staff. “And all disciplinary actions were handled by the medical staff office,” said Sherrie Bakke, the hospital’s director of business development. In California, doctors are not employees of hospitals.
California issues penalties for incidents that were likely to cause or did cause serious injury or death to patients.
Hospitals can be fined up to $75,000 for a first violation, up to $100,000 for a second incident and up to $125,000 for a third violation and every subsequent violation within three years.
Hospitals are required to make a plan of correction to prevent future events. Hospitals can appeal the penalty. Madera Community does not plan to appeal.
Since the wrong-side surgery, Madera Community Hospital adopted a new preoperative checklist in 2016 that doctors, nurses and staff follow, Bakke said.