Deficiencies Found in Santa Ana Transplant Program
Problems in the kidney transplant program at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana, such as inadequate record keeping and staff training, resulted in its "inability to ensure the provision of quality health care in a safe environment," according to a Department of Health Services report, the Los Angeles Times reports.
State regulators said the hospital:
- Performed 13 transplants last year, when the minimum number required is 15;
- Kept inadequate records;
- Did not perform regular checkups on patients over several years; and
- Could not provide proof that two staff members involved with the program had received required training after scoring poorly on competency assessments.
A Times analysis of data from the United Network for Organ Sharing, which oversees the nation's transplant system, found that Western accepted 8.8% of kidneys offered between July 2004 and June 2005. The national average for organ acceptance is 25.9%.
Hospital officials defended the program, noting that 95% of kidney transplant patients lived for more than a year after receiving an organ between July 2002 and December 2004.
Anne Marie Watkins, Western's chief nursing officer, said that the state approved the hospital's corrective plan last month and that inspectors found no problems during a subsequent inspection. A DHS spokesperson said the hospital is now in compliance with state regulations.
Hospital officials also said they would perform at least 15 transplants this year. Watkins said the hospital, which has 91 patients on its kidney transplant waiting list, rejected many of the organs for legitimate reasons, such as the donor's age or health (Weber/Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 6/15).