State health officials fined Rhode Island Hospital yesterday and ordered it to change procedures after a surgeon began operating on the wrong side of a woman's head, the Providence Journal reports. A patient died after a similar incident four months ago. Yesterday's incident is the third botched neurosurgical procedure this year at the hospital and the fourth in six years, the Journal notes.
"The repeated nature of these events suggests a system and culture problem with patient safety that needs to be addressed," the state said in issuing the $50,000 fine. The patient in the most recent incident is in fair condition. The surgeon began drilling a hole on the wrong side of her head before realizing the error.