A huge public hospital run by Los Angeles County and UCLA appeared so unsanitary when federal inspectors looked at it earlier this year that the federal government threatened to revoke its Medicare status, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Inspectors found rooms at the Torrance-area hospital that were dusty and cluttered and some with holes in the ceiling. Worse, employees failed to wash their hands as required by health regulations, the newspaper said.
"The hospital failed to maintain a sanitary environment for the provision of surgical services," the inspection reports said, according to the Times. "This could lead to contaminated surfaces in the operating room and the spread of infection."
The conditions at Harbor-UCLA are particularly resonant because the public hospital that previously served many of the same impoverished residents - Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center - had to be closed by the county after years of neglect led to severe injuries and medical mistakes among patients.
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Harbor-UCLA executive Delvecchio Finley said the hospital has addressed all the concerns raised by inspectors, according to the Times. Nevertheless, Finley told the Times, issues continue to arise because of the age of the hospital, which was built in 1963.
"It's an old building," he told the newspaper's Anna Gorman. "Because of that, there are certain challenges."