Oakland Nursing Home Fined, Reprimanded for Patient’s Death
State health inspectors have levied a $70,000 fine and issued the "stiffest penalty possible" to Medical Hill Rehabilitation Center in Oakland for allegedly "failing to monitor" the special needs of an 88-year-old man and "directly causing" his death, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The unidentified man died of aspiration pneumonia, in which foreign materials enter the lungs, five days after he was transferred from Medical Hill to Summit Medical Center. Department of Health and Human Services inspectors found that the patient's medication and gastric-tube feeding records were incomplete. Upon further investigation, officials found that the charge nurse did not show that the patient received "appropriate treatment and services to prevent aspiration pneumonia." On July 20, the state health department fined the hospital and issued Medical Hill an "AA" violation, issued only when "lapses are found to have directly caused a death." The center released a statement that attributed the patient's death to an "illness that was a persistent part of his medical history" and said that "in the course of further review, [Medical Hill] will be cleared of the state's findings." The Chronicle reports that a health department report confirmed that the patient had a "history of aspiration pneumonia" (Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.