California Department of Public Health announced recently that it was fining Studio City Rehabilitation Center $100,000–the most allowed by law–after an investigation uncovered problems that officials allege were “a direct proximate cause of death” of a patient who died after her impacted colon caused a serious, and ultimately fatal, blood infection.
The agency alleges that staff members at the facility “failed to assess, monitor and react” to a change in the resident’s bowel habits. The staff also failed to consider the resident’s use of narcotics, which are known to contribute to constipation, and to monitor her intake of fluids.
Those oversights, and others, say investigators, lead to the resident being admitted to the hospital in severe pain with obvious signs of a bowel impaction. Emergency room staff intubated her but put her chance of survival at zero. Two days later, the patient died of acute peritonitis caused by colon obstruction and perforation and severe fecal impaction.
The patient’s name was not made public.
The Class AA citation is the most severe citation California law allows but could have carried a fine as low as $25,000.
Photo Credit: Pixabay user Studio City Rehabilitation Center