A Fresno hospital is penalized for leaving a towel inside a patient. Saint Agnes Medical Center was recently fined $50,000 by the state. The incident happened back in 2010. The patient had to have the towel removed four months later because of complications.
Fresno residents have strong reactions to news that a towel was left inside a patient at Saint Agnes.
“There should be precautions. Back up, on back up, on back up because you're dealing with somebody's life,” said Bill Herron of Fresno.
According to a report released by the California Department of Public Health, a 17 x 27 inch towel was left in a patient’s abdomen in 2010. Four months later, the patient had complications that included a blocked bowel. After the patient’s second visit to complain of pain, the towel was spotted by a doctor.
A statement released by Saint Agnes said this:
“Delivering safe patient care is our No. 1 priority at Saint Agnes Medical Center and a commitment shared by every one of our caregivers and staff. Our goal is always to provide the safest and highest quality of care possible. In this particular case, we did not meet that goal. However, once we recognized our mistake, we took immediate corrective actions. This included self-reporting the issue to the state and conducting a thorough analysis of our process and policies to ensure that we have the necessary safeguards in place. Once the state conducted its review, it acknowledged that appropriate action had been taken and patients were not at risk.”
CBS47’s medical expert said research shows these kinds of mistakes are rare; less than .005% of the millions of surgeries in the U.S. every year. But the risks are highest in one of several scenarios.
“A retained foreign object after surgery, such as a sponge, is associated with emergency surgeries, changes in the planned procedure or multiple procedures, or surgeries on obese patients,” said Dr. Giatri Dave.
The report shows the patients original surgery was an emergency. But some feel that's no excuse.
“Those things should not happen in the hospital,” said Herron.
Saint Agnes has been cited by the state four times since 2007. On Thursday, California Department of Public Health released reports on 14 hospitals statewide that had been recently cited.
The "related link" shows all the Fresno hospitals that have been cited by the state since 2007.