Elderly Woman Sustains Serious Injury at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against San Gabriel Valley Medical Center alleging that the facility neglected one of its patients, Esther Esteves. While a resident at the facility, Ms. Esteves suffered several falls that resulted in a fractured hip, as well as a stroke, which both went unreported.

“While Esther was a patient at the facility, staff wrongfully withheld required care by failing to follow its own policies and procedures,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “All of these accidents were a result of the facility’s negligence and inability to provide Esther with the care she needed.”

On November 19, 2015, Ms. Esteves was admitted to San Gabriel Valley Medical Center with a known history of conditions, including a knee replacement and arthritis that caused significant side effects such as trouble balancing, which rendered her a high risk for falls. During her stay, Ms. Esteves’ medication regimen was undergoing change that also required the facility to observe her for side effects. The facility was well aware that she required specific care to prevent her from suffering falls, which included the implementation of care plans, 24-hour supervision and assistance with transferring.

On November 23, 2015, Ms. Esteves suffered an entirely preventable fall at the facility while she was left completely unattended. A staff member contacted her husband, letting him know that Ms. Esteves had fallen and that the facility had taken x-rays, but said that she was “O.K.” Approximately two weeks after suffering the fall, Ms. Esteves’ family had a meeting with her social worker regarding where she would be transferred since she was now stable on her medication. However, Ms. Esteves’ sitter stated that Ms. Esteves had severe pain on her right side and was unable to walk, and was bedridden. Shocked to hear this information, Ms. Esteves’ daughter requested an MRI; however, it could not be performed due to the metal Ms. Esteves now has in her knee after her knee replacement surgery.

Later, a nursing assistant told Ms. Esteves’ family that her medical records reflected that she had actually suffered a second fall, prior to December 2, 2015. Her family was then told a fraudulent story and was advised that Ms. Esteves had gone to the bathroom and suffered an “assisted fall.”

On December 5, 2015, staff informed Ms. Esteves’ family that the x-ray results had come back and showed that her knee was not broken. A few days later, Ms. Esteves was transferred to Chino Valley Heath Care Center. It was only after Ms. Esteves had been transferred there that her family learned of the stroke and the inverted right hip she suffered at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center.

On December 19, Ms. Esteves’ physician ordered that she visit Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier to get x-rays of her hip. The staff at the hospital confirmed that the fracture in her hip was a couple weeks old, meaning that the injury was sustained at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center. Ms. Esteves later underwent surgery to replace her fractured hip.