State report: 7,300 California hospital patients at risk of infection from contaminated meds

Issues at the Paradise Valley Hospital compounding pharmacy lab in National City, Calif., may have put 7,301 patients at risk of infection from contaminated medication, according to a Kaiser Health News report citing state records.

Inspectors found "dust, stains and foreign material" in what is supposed to be a sterile environment in the lab where intravenous medications were prepared, according to the report. Additionally, the hospital's head of infection control falsified documents to cover up her failure to monitor the lab. She was fired once the state inspection concluded.

The hospital was fined $17,500 by the California Department of Public Health, and it issued a correction plan. A spokesman told KHN the state "did not identify actual harm to any patients," and the hospital is appealing the state's penalty because outside lab tests show no contamination of medication.

Paradise Valley Hospital, owned by for-profit, Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare, is not notifying any patients because "further analysis found no evidence of contamination during this time period," a Prime spokeswoman told KHN.

However, state records from the inspection read that failures in the lab "resulted in the potential from 1/1/15 to 8/18/15 for 7,301 patients to be exposed to preventable infections from 4,322 contaminated IV medications."

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