Alta Bates Summit ordered to pay $84,450

By: July 12th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Cal/OSHA has imposed an $84,450 fine on Alta Bates Summit Medical Center for failure to warn and protect a hospital worker and an Oakland police officer exposed to an emergency room patient with meningitis, according to the San Jose Mercury News, July 2.

The worker and police officer “were sick for days before and after the hospital confirmed the exposure on Dec. 6, 2009, are permanently disabled as a result,” according tot he report.

The fine to the hospital and a subsequent fine to the police department were issued under California’s aerosol transmissible disease standard—the only one currently on the books in the US.

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Comments

By Lynn Heiderman on July 12th, 2012 at 11:55 am

I know our Employee Health Dept notifies any employee exposed to a meningitis patient. But who is responsible to notify the Police Dept especially if the diagnosis is made later when the police are gone and the patient is no longer in the ER.

I’m kind of confused. You don’t automatically know someone has meningitis. You have to do testing to confirm this and that takes some time. Were they even suspecting menigitis at the time these workers were exposed? If not there would have been no reason to wear PPE if in contact with that patient. Now if they were suspecting it, then that is a totally different story, then they are obviously liable. Its hard to judge without all the information. Its too bad either way that these workers got exposed and have had their lives altered because of it.

I agree with Andrea. Both were sick ‘for days before and after’? Was PPE available? Was it used? Did someone attempt to notify these workers after the dx was confirmed & could not/did not reach them? Were these folks even reported to be potential exposures for follow up purposes? And what definition of ‘contact with’ was in place? And even more pointed, how could the facility prevent the exposure, esp of the fireman who probably was first on the scene? Way too many unanswered questions here to support this ‘fine’ based on the story. And I certainly hope that CalOSHA took ‘professional personal responsibility’ into account when leveling this…

 

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