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N.Y. Adds $66,000 To Hospital Fines

Aug 30, 2002 | AP The state added $66,000 to fines against Mount Sinai hospital and prolonged the suspension of its live donor liver transplant program after finding 33 patient care violations, officials said Friday.

Health Commissioner Antonia Novello cited the "severity and widespread impact" of the violations for lengthening the suspension.

The hospital's adult liver transplant program was suspended following the January death of a 57-year-old donor a few days after surgery.

The suspension was to expire Sept. 12, but now, with the new violations, the hospital must submit a correction plan and pass a new inspection. State officials said they didn't know how long that would take.

"I tend to believe that because they've done so many (transplants), they tend to get overconfident and less cautious," Novello said Friday. "Mount Sinai did not police itself."

When the health department began investigating after the patient's death, it found a number of other post-surgical care violations, including a first-year resident overseeing 34 patients at once. The hospital was fined the maximum $48,000 and told to make its liver transplant care safer.

The probe, which has become the department's longest of a hospital, was continuing. So far, the state has investigated 92 of 158 patient-care complaints. Nine of the most serious cases involved the liver donor program.

The hospital said in a statement that most of the problems identified by the state occurred before 2002 and have been corrected.

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