A nurse turned down an audio alarm on an AIDS patient's vital-signs monitor and failed to notice when the man had a heart attack and died at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, Los Angeles County officials said.
The incident on Thursday was the latest crisis for the troubled, county-run hospital. Federal inspectors said three patients died last year after nurses similarly failed to watch patients' cardiac monitors.
The nurse turned down the audio alarm and did not see the vital-signs monitor's flashing visual alarm. A passing resident saw the visual alarm but was not able to revive the man, the Los Angeles Times reported in today's editions.
The nurse also falsified the 28-year-old patient's medical chart, listing him in stable condition more than an hour after his death. The nurse, who has not been named, has been suspended.
Last month, county officials proposed closing the hospital's trauma center after the hospital was ordered to correct deficiencies quickly or face losing accreditation and $200 million in federal funds. But politicians criticized the idea, saying it would be a blow to the predominantly poor community near Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood.