A back surgery performed on the wrong bone will cost Mission Hospital $100,000, the California Department of Public Health announced Thursday. It was the hospital's sixth administrative penalty since 2009.
The mishap occurred in 2010 after the hospital failed to mark the skin of a patient and the surgeon ignored a radiologist's X-ray reports, the state investigation concluded.
(Last year the hospital was fined .)
When an 85-year-old woman with a curved and narrow spine was admitted for surgery, a surgeon failed to operate on all her affected back bones. That omission led to a second, potentially lethal surgery, the state concluded in its report.
In the time between surgeries, a bone in the woman's back slid forward over the bone below it. That required surgeons to cut into her back to remove the bone during the second surgery.
Hospital staff told investigators the X-ray image of the unnamed patient's back was "very small," so they could not make out any "anatomical landmarks" to show where on the spine the surgery should be performed.
The state concluded the unnamed surgeon did not mark the skin before surgery as required by law, and had not read the radiologist's report on the post-operative X-ray of the spine.
An administrative penalty carries a fine of $50,000 for the first violation, $75,000 for the second, and $100,000 for a third or subsequent violation. Incidents before 2009 are not counted when determining the fine amounts.
A hospital representative would not answer questions Thursday morning until a statement was provided. The statement was not immediately provided to Patch.
Mission Hospital performs about 10,000 surgeries each year between its Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach locations, a hospital representative said last year.