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LOS ANGELES – Two county hospital workers were placed on paid leave after anonymous complaints that they set up a makeshift beauty salon in an intensive care ward for newborns, authorities said.

The two complaints said manicures and eyebrow waxes were given to nurses and doctors in the neonatal intensive care unit at county-run Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.

“The smell of acetone permeates the back area of the NICU,” according to one complaint obtained by the Los Angeles Times and reported Thursday.

The same complaint alleged a doctor “had a French manicure right on the high-frequency ventilator.”

No babies in the intensive care unit were harmed, officials said.

The complaints were made to the Joint Commission, a nonprofit group that accredits the hospital. The panel asked the hospital to respond to the complaints by May 17.

The county Department of Health Services sent an investigator to the hospital on Tuesday and has placed two employees on paid leave while it investigates.

“We’ve quickly taken decisive action,” said Carol Meyer, the health department’s chief network officer.

One complaint also alleged the neonatal ICU is understaffed and unqualified doctors and staff made mistakes and failed to report them.

Those allegations also are being investigated, Meyer said.

“There’s no patient who is unsafe,” she said.

The hospital also is investigating the complaints, chief executive Carolyn Rhee.

“The first concern of the hospital is always patient safety and quality of care,” she said.


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