Los Angeles hospital treated babies despite staff shortages

Records show a Los Angeles hospital treated ill babies in its neonatal intensive care unit despite critical staff shortages that led California health officials to downgrade its status.

California Department of Public Health investigators say Olive View-University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center put critically ill babies at risk by continuing care without enough neonatologists or staff to treat them.

The Los Angeles Times obtained the report after a public records request.

The Olive View neonatal unit was downgraded from "community" to "intermediate" status two years ago because of staff problems but continued to operate as though it had the higher designation.

The downgrade meant Olive View was required to transfer all babies on ventilators for more than four hours and those in need of surgery to better-equipped and staffed hospitals.

Information from: Los Angeles Times

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.