TORRANCE, Calif.–County-run Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance failed to keep its operating rooms clean and to protect its patients from possible infection, it was reported.

According to a report obtained by the Los Angeles Times, federal inspectors found hospital rooms that had holes in the ceilings or that were dusty and cluttered.

Operating rooms were kept at the wrong humidity level, which can lead to the spread of germs, The Times reported.

Some hospital staffers were not always washing their hands according to policy.

“The hospital failed to maintain a sanitary environment for the provision of surgical services,” an inspector wrote. “This could lead to contaminated surfaces in the operating room and the spread of infection.”

The infection control problems found at the county-run hospital earlier this year were so serious that the federal government sent a letter this summer threatening to revoke Medicare funding, a move that could financially destroy the institution. The county submitted a plan of correction.

The federal agency has not issued its follow-up report.

A series of patient-care lapses, some resulting in death, led to the eventually closing of county-run Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center in 2007, which the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is in the process of reviving. A new hospital is set to open in 2013.

Harbor-UCLA was completed in 1963, and the county is spending about $323 million to build a 190,000-square-foot hospital to replace the original.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

The state also cited the hospital for not quickly screening and stabilizing two patients who went to the emergency room complaining of chest pain, The Times reported. Another patient who had been hit by a car died after nurses failed to closely monitor his condition, according to the state.

The hospital has remained accredited by the Joint Commission, though it had 21 complaints that met the criteria for review by the agency.