Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Penalties are rare

Fines against hospitals
for errors few and small

Capital District hospitals have faced dozens of lawsuits alleging wrongful death and serious injury – and settled many of those claims. But they almost never get fined by the state; no hospital has been fined more than once since 2002, and none of them since 2008.

The following information is taken from the Department of Health’s Web page It covers the years 2002-2010.

Seton Health System - St. Mary’s Campus. 2003. Fine: $10,000, based on the occurrence of a wrong-sided surgery. The patient was admitted for drainage/thoracentesis of a right pleural effusion. A needle was inserted on the patient's left side. The patient experienced hemorrhage and death.

Albany Medical Center, South Clinical Campus. 2008. Fine: $6,000, based on the findings that a pediatric patient was admitted for a left side inguinal hernia. A right side inguinal hernia repair was performed. Further review of records identified multiple instances where the facility was out of compliance with internal policy and state guidelines for performing surgery involving laterality.

Samaritan Hospital. 2003. Fine: $2,000, based on an occurrence where a patient with severe lower back pain was diagnosed with right lateral disc herniation. A left-sided laminectomy was performed.

St. Peters Hospital. 2003. Fine: $2,000, based on the investigation of an occurrence involving the surgical repair of a hernia. Although the patient had a left inguinal hernia, an incision was made on the right side. Following incision, the mistake was identified, the site closed and the left-sided procedure completed.

Albany Memorial Hospital. No fines.

Ellis Hospital. No fines.

Ellis Hospital/McClellan Campus. No fines.

Bellevue Women’s Hospital. No fines


Back to Capital district health claims page


– David Baker