Santa Barbara- S County

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital fined after patient commits suicide

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The California Department of Health released a report Thursday detailing penalties issued to nine different hospitals in the state for "noncompliance with licensing requirements [that] caused, or was likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients." Among the nine facilities fined was Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Cottage Hospital was fined $100,000 in its third Immediate Jeopardy administrative penalty, according to the Department of Health report, after one of its patients suffered fatal injuries in a suicide attempt involving a fall that occurred under the hospital's watch in 2015.

The report states that "The hospital failed to ensure the health and safety of a patient when it did not follow established policies and procedures regarding the safety of a patient."

The Department of Health provided a link to a 12-page document further detailing the investigation into the incident. In it, officials say that although the hospital clearly documented the "high risk" suicide assessments conducted on the 93-year-old patient, hospital staff failed to "provide a safe environment and proper care to prevent 'Patient A' from carrying out his suicide plan."

"Facility staff failed to acknowledge and effectively communicate 'Patient A's' suicide plan to all care providers or any other staff responsible for Patient A's care interventions and/or monitoring," continued the report referencing an interview with a security guard tasked with watching the patient who claimed he was never told of the patient's suicide plan.

The 12-page document notes that the hospital has provided measures since then to prevent any future similar incidents from happening, including providing tamper-resistant and non-ligature fixtures, doors that permit staff to watch the patient without being too intrusive, walls, ceiling and floor of patient rooms designed to withstand direct and forceful impact, including updated staff protocols and training.

Read the full report here.

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital provided a short statement Thursday evening saying:

Patient privacy standards prevent us from responding publicly to the specific information in this release.


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