Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man Fractures Hip Due to Facility’s Neglect

Santa Monica, Calif. — Douglas Newfield was admitted into Santa Monica Health Care Center after suffering from a fall that resulted in a fractured hip.  He also had a myriad of medical conditions that contributed to his high likelihood of suffering further falls and injury if the facility did not provide the care he needed. Unfortunately, it’s alleged that the facility retained Newfield as a resident even though they did not have enough staff to monitor and assist him, therefore resulting in a fall that re-fractured his hip.

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against Santa Monica Health Care Center for elder abuse and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Douglas Newfield’s daughter entrusted Santa Monica Health Care Center with her father’s health for the simple task of providing post-operative care and protecting him from further falls and corresponding injuries,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Instead, it appears that Santa Monica Health Care Center failed to provide Douglas with the care he paid for – to prevent additional falls and rehab his hip. Simply stated, Santa Monica Health Care Center charged top dollar for care and then failed to hire and retain sufficient and competent staff to provide required care to Douglas. The predictable result on this focus on profits over the needs of the residents of Santa Monica Health Care Center resulted in yet another fall, and the pain and anguish of additional fractures. Sadly, as is so often the case, these are the types of injuries which occur when a long term care facility prioritizes a goal of unlawful profit over legally required patient care.”

Allegations and Background

On November 11, 2015, Newfield was admitted into Santa Monica Health Care Center for assistance with all of his activities of daily living, and for rehabilitation from a previous fall that had resulted in a hip replacement. Newfield was also on several medications that caused him to be chronically disoriented, leaving him at a high risk for falls.  He was also bound to his bed and wheelchair, and was unable to ambulate without assistance.

The lawsuit alleges that the facility was aware of Newfield’s condition and stated that it was sufficiently staffed and equipped with the resources to manage his care.  However, the lawsuit states that the facility did not in fact have the proper number of competently trained staff to be able to assist Newfield and provide him with the supervision he required in order to prevent falls.

Newfield’s daughter also explained to the facility that her father had a tendency to get out of bed or his wheelchair when left unattended. The lawsuit states that within one month of Newfield’s admission, he suffered an unexplained fall, which resulted in a hip fracture.

The fall, and subsequent fracture, occurred when Newfield was left unattended in his wheelchair. He had used his call button to contact staff for assistance; however, it’s alleged that because the facility was so short-staffed, their call light response times were extremely long. The lawsuit alleges that on several occasions, Newfield had pressed his call button, but there was no response. He complained to the facility’s staff about this lack of supervision and long call light response time; however, the lawsuit alleges that the facility’s administrators and directors ignored his complaints.

The lawsuit states that on the night of Newfield’s fall, the facility ignored the occurrence instead of calling 911.  Further, they concealed the injury from Newfield’s family, even though they were aware of an X-ray taken after the fall that clearly showed a fractured hip.

Newfield’s family learned about his injury only after he repeatedly complained to them that he was suffering a severe amount of pain. He had requested to be taken to the hospital for several days following his accident, but the facility had refused to transfer him.

The lawsuit alleges that after several days of complaints, Newfield’s family took him to his orthopedic specialist, where it was discovered that he had a hairline fracture in his hip. The lawsuit also alleges that X-rays confirmed that Newfield had suffered several fractures in his vertebrae, which the facility had been attempting to fraudulently conceal.   The facility also refused to turn Newfield’s initial X-ray results over to his family or physician.

The facility’s negligence did not stop there. The lawsuit alleges that the facility placed Newfield in a room with an individual who they knew had MRSA. Despite multiple complaints from Newfield’s family, the facility did not administrate a room change.

Ultimately, he contracted his roommate’s MRSA and required extensive therapy. When Newfield left the facility in 2016, he was completely emaciated, and lab results indicated that he was dehydrated and malnourished stemming from the facility’s repeated failure to follow the most basic of nutritional orders and care.