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Two hospitals in San Diego County have been fined by the California Department of Public Health for lapses in care that resulted in the death of one patient and an unplanned hysterectomy for another.

In one case, Scripps Mercy Hospital was fined $100,000 for an incident in which a patient with self-inflicted stab wounds jumped out of a 10th floor window and died after a 60-foot fall in May 2014.

According to a CDPH report, Scripps Health staff reviewed protocols for dealing with suicidal patients and new standards were developed for assessing them.

Scripps Health said in a statement that everyone “was deeply saddened by the patient suicide in 2014” that resulted in the CDPH penalty.

“Following this incident, we implemented additional measures including environmental safety enhancements, more staff training and improved communications processes to help prevent similar tragedies from occurring again,” the Scripps statement said.

When their patients don’t receive the proper outcomes, Scripps staff “work to understand why so we can make any needed changes to improve the quality of our care,” the statement says.

In the other case, two lap sponges were left in the abdomen of a woman following a January 2015 surgery at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, in which the egg attaches itself outside the uterus.

The sponges caused an infection that damaged both ovaries, her fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix, requiring a second operation to remove them, the CDPH reported.

The state health agency said the hospital revised its monitoring policy, re-educated its nursing and surgical tech staff on the counting process for medical equipment, terminated a registered nurse and suspended a scrub tech for three days. The CDPH fined Tri-City $47,025.

Tri-City Medical Center didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

—City News Service

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