California hospital fined $75K over teen's death

State officials have fined Vista del Mar Hospital in Ventura, Calif., $75,000 for care deficiencies tied to a teenage patient's death, the Ventura County Star reported Aug. 11. 

The 15-year-old patient died by suicide at the behavioral health hospital in May 2022, marking his second suicide attempt in less than a week.

The California Department of Public Health investigated the hospital after the incident and found staff failed to properly monitor the teen and report signs of his depression.

A staff member who allegedly disobeyed instructions to check on the patient every five minutes was previously fired by the hospital due to poor performance and then rehired, according to a state report cited by Ventura County Star. The staff member was terminated again after the patient's death.

State officials concluded that the Vista del Mar Hospital placed the patient in immediate jeopardy and levied a $75,000 fine. In their correction plan, hospital leaders said they took numerous actions to remedy the care deficiencies, including retraining staff members and creating a checks and balances system to ensure care protocols are followed. 

The hospital did not immediately respond to Ventura County Star's request for comment.

Editor's note: Becker's has reached out to Vista del Mar Hospital for comment and will update the article as more information becomes available. 

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