State Probes Patient Death at L.A. County Hospital
California health regulators are investigating an incident this month at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar in which a poison victim died after a necessary antidote was not delivered in time, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to Robert Splawn, Los Angeles County's senior medical director, the poison victim was rushed to the hospital and prescribed an antidote. However, the hospital's pharmacy was closed for the night, and only a small amount of the antidote was available in an emergency medicine supply.
An on-call pharmacist who responds to emergencies was never contacted, according to Splawn. Instead, hospital staff found the necessary dosage at a nearby hospital.
To ensure a quicker delivery, a county police supervisor was asked numerous times to pick up the antidote, but the supervisor refused, according to Splawn.
It took a hospital staff member about 50 minutes to retrieve the dosage; the patient died about an hour after it was delivered.
Olive View did not immediately report the patient's death, a violation of state law. County officials blamed the delay on confusion over new state reporting guidelines.
Since January, the hospital has been cited five times for patient care violations.
Gretchen McGinley, Olive View's acting CEO, said the hospital is taking corrective measures to prevent similar incidents, including plans to keep the pharmacy open 24 hours.
Meanwhile, County Police Bureau Chief Victor Turner said his agency is investigating the officer's conduct in the incident (Leonard/Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 10/22).