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San Diego’s Scripps Mercy Hospital Fined For Medical Error

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Aired 4/14/10

San Diego's Scripps Mercy Hospital has been slapped with a $25,000 fine for leaving a sponge inside a patient. It's the third time the California Department of Public Health has fined the hospital for safety lapses.

— San Diego's Scripps Mercy Hospital has been slapped with a $25,000 fine for leaving a sponge inside a patient. It's the third time the California Department of Public Health has fined the hospital for safety lapses.

The Scripps patient had a hysterectomy in late 2007. An imaging test about a year later revealed a foreign object in the patient's body, but a separate surgery failed to find it. Then last spring, surgeons removed a four by four inch sponge from the woman's pelvis.

Dr. Davis Cracroft is Scripps Mercy's Medical Director. He says human errors in medicine are inevitable.

"What we have to do is try and design our processes so that human errors are limited, and then mitigate the damage that occurs whenever possible."

Cracroft says Scripps has taken corrective action to make sure this kind of error doesn't happen again. State regulators fined six other hospitals for medical mistakes.

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