Advertisement

Hospital officials dispel allegations of 'beauty salon' in infant care unit

L.A. County officials say most complaints about Olive View-UCLA Medical Center could not be substantiated, and that cosmetic services almost always occurred during break times and outside of the NICU.

May 19, 2010|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

In a written response to allegations of substandard care at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit, Los Angeles County health officials said they found "little about the allegations" to be correct.

County health officials addressing an anonymous complaint to an accreditation agency said seven of 11 allegations made could not be substantiated. Officials found that hospital staff provided and received cosmetic services at Olive View, but said "the investigation has dispelled the claim that an organized cosmetic operation on the scale of a 'beauty salon' has existed in the NICU."

County investigators questioned 80 Olive View workers and found 16 had received free nail or eyebrow services from a fellow staff member who admitted responsibility and is one of two employees placed on leave, according to a copy of the response reviewed by The Times.

Officials said staff received treatments during breaks, almost always in rooms outside the NICU. Twice, investigators said, an unoccupied NICU suite was used.

Officials found that Dr. Richard Findlay, the unit's director and its only board-certified neonatologist, had failed to respond when paged, as alleged in the complaint. But he told officials it was a "one-time incident" that occurred because unit staff did not have his contact number when he became director in November 2009.

Officials also confirmed the allegation that NICU staff dropped a baby from a scale and made other errors involving medications and burns that resulted in temporary harm to babies, according to the response. But they rejected allegations that doctors and nurses were not trained or equipped to treat critically ill babies, concluding that the unit has "adequate staffing" and "is appropriately providing care to its neonatal population."

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|