UCSF Medical Center, SF General Fined for Surgical Screw-Ups

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UCSF Medical Center and San Francisco General Hospital have both been fined tens of thousands of dollars for operating-room mishaps, the California Department of Public Health announced today.

The two are among 14 major hospitals against which state health officials issued sanctions, including top-flight medical facilities such as Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. UCSF itself was recently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the seventh-best hospital in the country and best in Northern California.

UCSF was fined $75,000 for a surgeon's mistaken incision near a patient's eye, while General was fined $50,000 for a flub that resulted in a woman having only part of her breast removed when she was supposed to get a full mastectomy.

In the UCSF incident, the surgeon realized he was operating on the incorrect eye, closed the incision, and proceeded with the operation on the correct eye, according to the DPH complaint. In the mistake at General, surgeons apparently received conflicting instructions about performing a partial or full mastectomy, and went with the wrong ones.

Other Bay Area hospitals that were sanctioned include Kaiser Foundation Hospital in South San Francisco, and Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo.

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