Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man Develops Severe Pressure Sores and Dies at Los Angeles Hospital

Paramount, Calif. – James McDonald, an 88-year-old man, was transferred to Promise Hospital of East Los Angeles for care after being treated for a fever and undergoing a blood transfusion at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach. McDonald was a hospice patient with a well-known history of suffering from pressure sores. The complaint alleges that Promise Hospital accepted responsibility for McDonald even though the facility knew that it did not have the skilled staff or resources to provide him with proper care. As a result of the hospital’s alleged neglect, McDonald developed avoidable pressure sores on his body and died.

Garcia & Artigliere & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Promise Hospital of East Los Angeles for elder abuse.

“Promise Hospital was entrusted with the care of James, specifically to receive skilled care in order to prevent him from developing painful pressure sores,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia.  “Based on what we know, it appears that instead of providing him with the daily assistance he desperately needed, the hospital flat-out ignored him and his medical needs, and unlawfully retained James to maximize their own financial bottom line. This type of behavior is just wrong and serves to reflect a horrible wrong to our elder infirm family members whose care is entrusted to facilities such as Promise. These painful sores could have, and should have, been totally avoided had Promise just done what they promised to do, which was simply to provide proper care to James.

Allegations and Background

In mid-December of 2015, McDonald was transferred to Promise Hospital of East Los Angeles for care following a blood transfusion and treatment for a fever. McDonald was a hospice patient with a known history of hospitalization for pressure sores, and for respiratory problems that required a ventilator.

According to the lawsuit, when McDonald was admitted to Promise Hospital, hospital personnel were well aware from their own assessment data, family information, and doctors’ notes and orders that McDonald was at high risk for skin breakdown that could lead to pressure sores. However, the facility allegedly failed to reposition McDonald every two hours, make sure he was clean and dry and free from feces and urine at all times, and make sure he was properly hydrated.

The lawsuit alleges that in spite of Promise Hospital knowing that McDonald was at very high risk for developing pressure sores, the facility’s staff did not provide the critical care he required to prevent his skin from breaking down. McDonald was allegedly left in bed for hours in the same position and not turned and repositioned every two hours. The suit further alleges McDonald was often left in his own feces and urine for long periods of time. Moreover, he didn’t receive the customary pressure-relieving devices that hospitals and care facilities commonly provide to prevent pressure sores, and was not given proper food or hydration, which would have helped his body fight off the sores. As a result of the hospital’s severe neglect, the lawsuit alleges McDonald developed horrific pressure sores on his body and ultimately died. The lawsuit states that the facility sought to conceal the pressure sores, and did not provide him with adequate treatment.