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Scripps La Jolla Fined $100,000 For Putting Patient’s Life At Risk

Aired 12/8/11 on KPBS News.

For the sixth time in the last four years, state regulators have fined Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla for putting a patient's life at risk.

— State regulators have slapped Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla with a $100,000 fine for safety violations. It's the sixth penalty the hospital has received since 2007.

The latest incident happened last year. A patient at Scripps La Jolla had spinal surgery; doctors used a temporary pin to stabilize the spine during the procedure. Afterward, the patient complained of something being stuck in her throat.

An X-ray revealed the temporary pin had not been removed. The woman had to undergo a second surgery to take the pin out.

Scripps officials declined to to be interviewed. In a written statement, Scripps said the hospital has made improvements to make sure such mistakes don't happen again.

All California hospitals are required to report any adverse events to state regulators. The state issues fines when it determines an incident put patients lives at risk.

Scripps La Jolla received the maximum penalty. The California Department of Public Health fined 13 other hospitals in the latest round of penalties.

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