Kern Medical fined after leaving foreign object in patient

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Kern Medical has received its third immediate jeopardy administrative penalty and a fine has been set.  

An immediate jeopardy administrative penalty is when a facility is in violation of licensure and has, will cause, or is likely to cause a serious injury or death to the patient. 

Kern Medical did not perform within the established policies and procedures regarding the treatment of a patient and doing so failed to ensure the health and safety of the patient, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The penalty was acquired due to leaving a foreign object in a patient after surgical events on April 3, 2018. 

The object left in the patient was a ribbon retractor, an object used to separate and or hold underlying organs and tissues back in order to access the needed body parts or under the incision. 

Kern Medical employees failed to do a final count of all surgical instruments used during an abdominal hysterectomy and left a surgical instrument inside of the patient’s abdomen for 20 days, according to the CDPH report. The object was identified by an emergency room physician during x-ray after the patient visited the ER for abdominal pain. 

The patient was taken back to the operation room on April 23, 2018 and the object was removed. 

Kern Medical has been fined $34,650. 

Kern Medical responded with this comment regarding the incident:

“Providing safe and exceptional patient care is a core value for Kern Medical and we take the findings of the California Department of Public Health very seriously. We have conducted a thorough investigation into this matter and have developed plans with our hospital and medical staff to ensure that an incident like this does not happen again. Consistent with patient privacy laws and Kern Medical policy, we respect our patients’ right to privacy and will not provide further information regarding their care.”  

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