health-care.jpgThree Bay Area hospitals were issued hefty penalties from the state Department of Public Health for putting patients at risk, health officials announced Wednesday.

The UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco received two penalties totaling $200,000 after investigations found noncompliance to the health code likely to cause serious injury or death to patients.

Two penalties, amounting to $175,000, were also levied at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco.

The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose received one penalty, costing $100,000.

UCSF Medical Center was penalized for not following surgical policies and procedures in two separate incidents in which a patient had to undergo a second surgery to remove a foreign object.

These were the hospital’s seventh and eighth administrative penalties.

At St. Mary’s a surgical error also resulted in a second patient surgery to remove a foreign object. This was the hospital’s second penalty.

A third penalty came from the hospital failing to safely distribute and administer medication to a patient.

At Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, the hospital was fined for failing to follow procedures for emergency care. This was the facility’s third penalty.

A first violation carries a $50,000 fine, while a second violation reaches $75,000. Third and subsequent violations carry a $100,000 penalty, according to health officials.

The hospitals are required to provide the health department with a plan of correction to prevent future incidents.

Hospitals can appeal the penalties by requesting a hearing.

Throughout the state, 10 penalties were issued at seven hospitals with fines totaling $775,000.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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