Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Chokes and Dies at Fountain Valley Hospital

Fountain Valley, Calif. — Kathleen Soldano, an elderly woman, was admitted to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center following a stroke at home. Prior to her admission, the facility was informed by her physician that she was a high risk for choking. The lawsuit alleges that the hospital accepted responsibility for Soldano even though they knew they were unable to provide the level of care that they promised, and simply to unlawfully promote their own profit the not surprising result of which was that Mrs. Soldano suffered the precise preventable choking incident that caused her untimely death for which Fountain Valley was paid good money to prevent.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center for elder abuse.

“Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center was specifically entrusted with Kathleen’s care in order to prevent her from choking,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “However, it appears that the hospital so incompetently cared for Kathleen that she not only suffered the very choking the facility’s staff was meant to protect her from, but a preventable pressure sore as well. Based on what we’ve discovered, Kathleen’s horrific injuries would not have occurred had Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center adhered to applicable rules, laws and regulations, as well as the acceptable standard of practice governing the operation of a skilled nursing facility.”

Allegations and Background

According to the lawsuit, Soldano suffered a stroke at home in January 2017 and was later admitted to Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center. It’s alleged that prior to her admission, the speech-language pathologist assessed Soldano and wrote in her chart that she was not to have any ice chips or liquids due to the risk of choking. As a result, Soldano received a physician’s order that she was to be “NPO,” which means she was to take nothing by mouth.

The lawsuit states that on February 4, 2017, Soldano’s family visited her at the facility, and they noticed that was not very responsive. When they notified the staff that Soldano was pointing to her chest and appeared to be in pain, a nurse allegedly came in and started administering medications in apple sauce to her. Since Soldano was a high-risk for choking, her family allegedly requested that the nurse stop feeding her and eventually, a second nurse entered the room and told the first nurse to stop feeding Soldano. On the same day, the lawsuit states that when a nurse rolled Soldano over in order to clean her, the nurses and Soldano’s family discovered an open pressure sore on Soldano’s bottom.

The next day, it’s alleged that Soldano became completely nonresponsive. Soldano’s family notified nurses and attempted to contact the doctor regarding Soldano’s declining condition, and after ten minutes, multiple nurses rushed into Soldano’s room and took her to the Intensive Care Unit, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and intubated.

Soldano’s health continued to decline until she passed away a few days later on February 10, 2017. At the time of Soldano’s death, her husband requested an autopsy report, which stated that Soldano died due to foods and liquids she should never have been provided by the hospital despite her known choking risk.