Garcia & Artigliere Files Lawsuit Against Desert Knolls Convalescent Hospital for Wrongful Death

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Meridian Management Services LLC and Desert Knolls Convalescent Hospital for dependent adult abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, fraud, and wrongful death. The lawsuit alleges Lupe Hernandez received below-average care from the facility and its staff, ultimately leading to her death.

In January 2015, Ms. Hernandez was transferred to Spring Valley Post Acute LLC, operating under the fictitious name Desert Knolls Convalescent Hospital, for the care of significant medical conditions and rehabilitation from a recent car crash, including a fractured hip, spine and ankle, inability to walk, renal disease requiring dialysis three times a week, diabetes requiring insulin, and low blood pressure requiring blood thinning medication. Ms. Hernandez also had a history of breathing problems, which required assistance with all daily activities and made her particularly susceptible to the development of pressure sores, pneumonia and sepsis.

“Had the defendants regarded their legal obligation to properly care for their patients, Ms. Hernandez may still be with us today,” says attorney Stephen Garcia. “Ms. Hernandez died as a direct result of their gross negligence.”

Throughout her stay, Ms. Hernandez did not receive the required care for her conditions. Her husband, who frequently visited, would often find his wife in bed, leaning to one side, sitting in feces or in a soiled diaper with urine. The facility’s staff left her alone for two to four hours and would not answer her call light. Additionally, the staff would take her to the bathroom and leave her on the toilet for extremely long periods of time before returning.

Additionally, Ms. Hernandez developed pressure ulcers from being dragged across her bed sheets, demonstrating the improper care she received from not properly lifting her out of bed, not turning or repositioning her in bed, and leaving her air mattress unplugged. Ms. Hernandez’s physician-mandated 24-hour oxygen supply was often turned off, and she was denied the required medication to treat her congestive heart failure.

As Ms. Hernandez’s congestive heart failure and conditions worsened, she was transferred out of Desert Knolls Convalescent Hospital where she went into a coma for approximately one week. Her pressure ulcers had worsened and became infected. Soon after being readmitted, she was yet again denied proper medication and transferred to Arrowhead Regional Intensive Care Unit. Ms. Hernandez developed septic shock and bacterial pneumonia, and was in a coma-like state for several weeks until she passed away on April 16, 2015.