My dear father, a 77-year old man with a history of pulmonary problems, suffered irreversible brain damage when he was deprived of oxygen and received a large quantity of pain and anti-anxiety medicine which caused him to go into respiratory arrest. He needed an MRI to diagnose some extreme back pain, and was transported via ambulance from the hospital to the hospital’s MRI facility across the street without his oxygen. He was also without oxygen for the duration of the MRI.
Consumers Union Documents
- Spreading Germs: Low Rates of Flu Vaccination Among California Healthcare Workers Put Patients at Risk (PDF)
Consumers Union Report shows California Department of Public Health is falling behind on collecting and publishing dangerously low vaccination rates to the public.
- Medical Board Notice to Consumers Regulation
The Medical Board regulation requiring physicians to have a notice for patients with the Medical Board contact information has been approved. It goes into effect on June 27th. Medical Board of California (April 2010)
- Preventable Harm: California Fails to Follow Through With Patient Safety Laws
- CU Letter to CA Department of Health Care Services (pdf)
CU sent a letter to Kathleen Billingsley at the Department of Health Care Services following our meeting on December 16 regarding state implementation of the hospital-acquired infection and adverse event reporting laws. Consumers Union (December 28, 2009)
- CU Public Records Act Request to California Department of Public Health (pdf)
CU filed a Public Records request for documents related to adverse events and hospital acquired infections made available to the public through legislation passed since 2006. Consumers Union (February 16, 2010)
- CU Comments to California Board of Pharmacy in Support of Labels Large Enough to Read (pdf)
March 9, 2010 (Consumers Union)
- CU Comments to Board of Podiatric Medicine Regarding Notice to Consumers (pdf)
Consumers Union writes in support of the Board of Podiatric Medicine’s (BPM) adoption of proposed section 1399.730, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. This proposal requires doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs) to notify their patients that they are licensed by the State of California, and provides the Board’s website address and the toll-free number where consumers with complaints may seek guidance.
- CU Letter to California Board of Pharmacy in Support of Patient-Centered Labels on Prescription Drugs
Consumers Union wrote a letter to the California Board of Pharmacy in support of proposed Section 1707.5 of Division 17 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations that would make labels on prescription medication containers safer and better-suited for patients’ needs by requiring pharmacies to use standardized font
- CA Safe Patient Network
Description of the organization and mission.
- CU Summary of CA Hospital Licensing
CU Summary of CA Hospital Licensing
- A Shot In The Dark: Not Enough California Healthcare Workers are Getting Flu Shots
It’s the start of flu season and you might be worried about the spread of germs. We’re worried too. Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project released a report today that found nearly half of all hospital workers in California didn’t get flu shots during the 2008-2009 flu season.
- Let’s talk about labels
A bill in California (SB 1390) would create a minimum of 12-point font for the most crucial information on medication labels and would require translation of medication label information into commonly used non-English languages.
- California Moving Too Slow On Patient Safety Progress
Since 2006, California lawmakers have passed laws to improve patient safety, yet the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has been moving at turtle speed to enforce these laws.
- California Pharmacy Board Should Support Safer Medication Labels
Guest blog post written by Syed Sayeed, Policy Analyst at Consumers Union’s West Coast Office. CU is calling on California residents to submit comments to the Pharmacy Board by March 10th, in support of requiring all pharmacies to print important label information in at least a 12-point font size.
- Let’s talk about MRSA
Learn about MRSA from the people who have had personal experiences with this harmful superbug.
- In Honor of Patients
Join patient safety advocates across the country tomorrow to observe Patient Safety Day.
- A Doctor’s Right to a Livelihood vs. a Patient’s Right to Live – The Discussion Continues
Guest blogger Michele Monserratt-Ramos, President of Californians for Patients’ Rights, attended a forum to discuss the Regulatory Management of Chemically Dependent Healthcare Practitioners. These are policy filled terms that translate to “what to do with doctors and health care workers in our health system who abuse drugs or alcohol.”
- Insight from California Safe Patient Network
Guest blogger, Holly Harris from San Diego, shares what she learned at the California Safe Patient Network meeting and calls on us to join and spread the word about preventable medical harm.
- Activists speak out at Presidential health care forum
Your stories matter. We are listening—and we’re getting those at the highest levels of government to listen, too.
- Raise your hand if you’ve had a hospital-acquired infection
More people know about hospital acquired infections and medical errors than you might think, and not just from watching Oprah.
- Carole Moss on Huffington Post Live: How To Stop Hospitals From Killing Us Source: Huffington Post Live (Tuesday December 3, 2013)
Hear CA advocate Carole Moss, who founded Nile’s Project, discuss “how to stop hospitals from killing us.”
- Medical board suspends doctor faulted in Lap-Band surgery death Source: Los Angeles Times (Thursday August 22, 2013)
The Medical Board of California has suspended the license of an anesthesiologist faulted in the care of a patient who died after weight-loss surgery at a clinic tied to the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign.
- Lap-Band surgery center tied to 1-800-GET-THIN loses accreditation Source: Los Angeles Times (Wednesday August 21, 2013)
Following patient deaths, a Beverly Hills lap-band outpatient surgery center has lost its accreditation, which under California law, prohibits the center from performing surgeries on patients under general anesthesia. The operators of these lap-band surgery centers have disciplinary records with the California Medical Board and face a joint criminal investigation involving both state and federal law enforcement agencies.
- Fullerton hospital fined $100,000 for removing wrong kidney from cancer patient Source: KPCC (Thursday August 15, 2013)
St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, Calif., has been fined for removing the wrong kidney from a cancer patient. Nine other California hospitals were fined for similar actions that put patient safety in jeopardy.
- CDPH Issues Penalties to Ten Hospitals Source: CDPH (Thursday August 15, 2013)
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued ten penalties today to California hospitals along with fines totaling $675,000 after investigations found the facilities’ noncompliance with licensing requirements caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.
- Initiative reduces hospital-acquired infections, savings lives and money Source: KPCC (Monday August 5, 2013)
A three-year effort to reduce hospital-acquired infections has prevented more than 3,500 patient deaths and saved more than $60 million dollars, according to a report released Monday by the statewide collaborative Patient Safety First.
- Report on CA Patient Safety First initiative to reduce medical errors Source: CA Patient Safety First (Thursday August 1, 2013)
To address the critical issue of patient safety in hospitals, five key industry stakeholders came together in 2010 to develop and implement Patient Safety First…a California Partnership for Health (PSF).
- Prison Sterilization Report Prompts Call For Inquiry In California Source: NPR (Thursday July 11, 2013)
California lawmakers are calling for an investigation into allegations that 148 female prisoners underwent tubal ligation surgeries without the state’s required approval. Some inmates said they had been pressured into undergoing the sterilization procedure, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
- Rocklin doctor's license suspended Source: Sacramento Business Journal (Thursday May 2, 2013)
Rocklin doctor has license suspended after a court found that her practicing medicine “will endanger the public health, safety and welfare.”
- California's medical board backs some prescription-drug-abuse reforms Source: Los Angeles Times (Friday April 26, 2013)
LA Times reports: “The Medical Board of California on Friday embraced a host of reforms aimed at combating prescription drug abuse and reducing overdose deaths but balked at a proposal to strip it of its authority to investigate physician misconduct.”
Research and Reports
- Dialysis Facility Surveys--California 2010
End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Dialysis Facility Survey reports for California for 2010.
- Influenza Vaccination Among Employees in California General Acute Care Hospitals for the 2008-2009 Respiratory Season
The California Department of Public Health reports findings revealed in Consumers Union’s report that only about half of California healthcare workers got vaccinated during the 2008-2009 flu season.
- Events that are never supposed to happen in state hospitals (graphic)
Graphic of some of the adverse events reported by California hospitals over the past two fiscal years.
- Doctors Behaving Badly: Medical boards should drop the stone tools, join the digital age
Many state medical board websites are not consumer-friendly, and it can be confusing or impossible to find information about a doctor’s disciplinary, criminal or malpractice history. In response, journalist William Heisel has created a Google map of “doctors behaving badly” with links to bad doctor new articles.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern about the Quality of Care from a California Physician
Steps you can take if you are concerned about your care under a CA physician.
- What To Do If You Have Concern About Quality in a California Nursing Home
Steps you can take if you are concerned about the quality of care in a CA nursing home.
- What to Do if You Have a Concern about Quality in a California Hospital
What to do if you are concerned about your hospital’s quality of care and links to resources that can help. It addresses steps you can take within a hospital or with organizations that regulate or oversee hospitals.
- California Health Facilities Information
California residents can search this California Department of Public Health website for information on health facilities such as ownership, certification status (acceptance of Medicare and/or Medi-Cal) and performance history including complaints; entity reported incidents, state enforcement actions, and survey deficiencies. You can also submit a complaint regarding a specific facility.
- Problems with the Board of Registered Nursing Enforcement and Diversion Programs (PDF)
On July 11, 2009, the Los Angeles Times, in conjunction with Pro-Publica, a non-profit investigative news agency, published an article entitled “When Caregivers Harm: Problem Nurses Stay on the Job as Patients Suffer,” charging that Board of Registered Nursing, which oversees California’s more than 350,000 nurses, often takes years to act on complaints of egregious misconduct. Nurses with histories of drug abuse, negligence, violence, and incompetence continue to provide care, and BRN often took more than three years, on average, to investigate and discipline errant nurses.
- CA: List of hospital fines by county
See if hospitals in your county have had administrative penalties issued by the California Department of Public Health.