California regulators shut down Angels Hospital, Rancho Cucamonga, after at least four patients died from allegedly inept and inadequate medical care. The 55-bed private hospital - which generally cares for patients after elective surgery -- was cited for, among other things, depriving seriously ill patients of life-sustaining nourishment, failing to change respiratory equipment until it was visibly filthy, turning down sound alarms on cardiac monitors so they could not be heard and calling paramedics to resuscitate patients because doctors were unavailable, the California Department of Health Services said. One physician was referred to the state medical board for possible disciplinary action.
Regulators found Angels Hospital in such disarray during a May 7 inspection that the hospital was immediately ordered to move its six inpatients elsewhere and to halt all surgeries. A temporary suspension order was issued days later. A hearing will held before an administrative law judge to determine whether the hospital should be permanently closed. The findings may be forwarded to law enforcement for possible criminal prosecution, regulators said. Angels Hospital opened about a year ago in the former facility of bankrupt Heritage Hospital. Hospital officials could not be reached for comment. -- by Laura B. Benko