Stanford Hospital Fined $50,000 for Patient's Brain Injury

The patient received brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. He later died.

Stanford Hospital has been fined $50,000 for a medical error that resulted in brain damage to a patient, the California Department of Public Health announced Thursday.

According to documents, “The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures relating to tracheostomy care.”

An investigation found that a nurse removed sutures anchoring a patient's tracheostomy tube without orders from a doctor or physician's assistant, then failed to note in the patient’s medical record that the sutures had been removed. The tube became dislodged. The patient suffered brain damage due to lack of oxygen, and later died.

Following the 2010 incident, Stanford Hospital retrained its staff members on policies and procedures.

This is the first time the state has fined the hospital.

Stanford Hospital is one of 14 hospitals statewaide hit with substantial fines, including Menlo Park Surgical Hospital. The other Bay Area hospitals are Kaiser Foundation South San Francisco, and three San Francisco hospitals--Kaiser Foundation, Saint Francis and Saint Mary's Medical Center.

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