According to a report released by the California Department of Public Health, Brotman Medical Center in Culver City was recently fined $50,000 after a September 2010 survey found that the medical center had not complied with proper procedure to prevent the death of an unnamed elderly patient in 2009.
The incident, as detailed in this report, occurred when the 82-year-old man tried to get out of his wheelchair to go to the restroom and fell, causing a mass of clotted blood in his brain.
The department was notified of the Brotman incident by both the hospital and by a complaint, presumably from someone connected with the patient.
This is the second such penalty that Brotman has received. The first was issued in 2009, after a 2008 incident in which a nurse mishandled an injection that caused a patient to stop breathing. The patient survived, according to the report, but must remain on breathing equipment.
Administrative staffers from Brotman Medical Center did not respond to repeated requests for a statement.
Ralph Montano, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health, said, "We receive thousands of complaints a year."
Not all complaints, obviously, result in fines. But Montano said that the law that gives the CDPH the power to fine hospitals went into effect in 2007 and since that time, his department has issued 198 fines, or administrative penalties, to 124 hospitals. There are approximately 450 hospitals in the state.
According to the CDPH website, hospitals in Los Angeles County have accounted for 33 of the 198 penalties over the past four years, with County/USC, County/Harbor and County/Olive View hospitals each receiving four. Also included in the list are such notable facilities as St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica and Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, which have each received one.