(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
Nursing notes written approximately six hours before Ms. Fine’s family called the paramedics include the following entries: “Resident alert and responsive. Fluids tolerated well. Vital signs normal, no pain. No shortness of breath. No acute distress at this time. Dr. XY aware of recent lab results. Resident resting in bed, turned every two hours for comfort…”
Dr. W’s notes from ABC Hospital compiled in the Emergency Department, minutes after Claire Fine left Eastern, tell a very different story. The hospital records describe Claire Fine as dehydrated, in shock due to an infection with a blood pressure of 63/37, and suffering from kidney failure. She had a feeding tube in place that was not being used to feed her. She had poor skin turgor, decubitus ulcers and contractures. Dr. W. had originally asked that she be transferred to University Medical Center but her condition was so critical that the paramedics took her to ABC Hospital because it was closer to Eastern
Dr. W. stated in his notes that Decedent was unable to respond to his questions. Perhaps the most disturbing finding was rhabdomyolysis, a condition caused by the breakdown in muscle tissue releasing a compound toxic to the kidneys. The condition occurs when a person is left to lie in one place for prolonged periods of time. Dr. W. felt rhabdomyolysis had been present for about one week. The nursing home was unable to reach Dr. XY, who returned a call placed to him by the nursing home only after Decedent had been transferred by paramedics. She died 10 days later. Claire was 53 years of age. Records indicate that she had been suffering from cancer for over one year that had gone undiagnosed and untreated.
These excerpted paragraphs from the Complaint show Defendant’s egregious neglect and abuse of Decedent. Their attempt to cover up their egregious conduct by falsification of medical records shows Dr. XY’s conscious disregard for Decedent’s safety and their knowledge of the serious danger their actions exposed to CLAIRE FINE. The falsification of records also supports Plaintiffs’ contentions of fraudulent and oppressive conduct.
D. Facts That Dr. XY Maintains Would Support A Claim of Recklessness Have Been Alleged.
In his moving papers, Dr. XY argues that facts such as a physician consistently opposing a patient’s admission to an acute care facility, failure to respond to requests to transfer a dependent patient, efforts to conceal bedsores and other maladies by refusal to transfer to an acute care facility and abandonment of a dying patient are actions that rise to the level of recklessness. As argued above, Plaintiffs have alleged these and other facts that support recklessness, oppression and conscious disregard for Decedent’s safety and well being. (See Part 8 of 8.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.