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Kaiser Permanente Patient Horror Story

Aug 12th, 1998

Kaiser Cited Again For Improper Use Of Unlicensed Surgical Technicians!!!

Shannon Sutherland, RN, JD.
Regulatory Policy Specialist

On August 6th, the CNA received written notice from the DHS that they had issued another Statement of Deficiencies (SOD) against Kaiser-Sacramento (Morse Ave.) facility for their improper use of unlicensed surgical technicians. Kaiser was using the unlicensed technicians as first assistants during orthopedic procedures. Nurses reported numerous eye-witness accounts of unlicensed technicians suturing, cutting tissue, using a bovie on vessels, and drilling pins and screws. The hospital was cited in 1996 for allowing the unlicensed technician to administer marcaine into the joints of patients in the OR.

Citing Business and Professions Code Section 2052, the SOD states:

      "It is unlawful for any person to practice medicine without an appropriate license or statutory authority. The practice of medicine includes…treating or doing surgery" 

The SOD states further:

      "Section 2264 - It is unprofessional conduct for a physician and surgeon to employ…any unlicensed person to engage in the practice of medicine." 

Kaiser responded in their Plan of Correction to the DHS that the tasks requiring licensure have been removed and that their unlicensed surgical technicians are being inserviced on the cases they may assist with.

For more information or a copy of the SOD, contact Shannon Sutherland, RN, JD, CNA's Regulatory Policy Specialist at (916) 446-5019, ext. 15, or email at