Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Suffers Broken Hip, Severe Infection & Physical Restraint Injuries at Loma Linda Hospital; Staff Attempts to Cover Up Negligent Actions
Loma Linda, Calif. — Martha Ann Gill, a 78-year-old woman, was admitted to Loma Linda University Medical Center for a procedure to treat her serious medical conditions, including leukemia, an infection and kidney failure requiring dialysis. It’s alleged that while Gill was a patient at the hospital, her health rapidly declined due to the negligent care she received. During her first stay, from September 26, 2018–October 3, 2018, Gill suffered a preventable fall and fractured her hip, and developed a serious blood infection. During her second stay, from October 10, 2018–October 28, 2018, she suffered medication errors, and severe swelling and bruising to her arms and legs from being physically restrained, among other injuries. Sadly, Gill died in the hospital on October 28, 2018. Since her death, it’s alleged the hospital has refused to release her medical records, even though it is required to do so in accordance with the law. The lawsuit states that the negligent and abusive care Gill received resulted from a plot by hospital operators to understaff the hospital in order to increase their own profits.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Loma Linda University Medical Center for elder abuse.
“The scope and severity of the alleged, recurrent neglect inflicted upon Martha while in the hospital’s care, accelerated the deterioration of her health and physical condition beyond that caused by the normal aging process and resulted in her physical and mental suffering,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Moreover, it appears that the hospital is attempting to hide Martha’s records in an ongoing effort to conceal the truth about her injuries. As our Complaint states, this is a case where hospital operators were more interested in false appearances of services than actually providing required and promised care for vulnerable patients like Martha.”
Allegations and Background
Gill was hospitalized for pneumonia, which required placement on a ventilator and feeding tube, from approximately July 2018 through August 2018. Following this hospitalization, she was admitted to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation. By this time, she suffered from medical conditions that included a hospital-acquired Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), leukemia and kidney failure requiring dialysis treatment. Gill’s conditions left her bedridden and dependent upon hospital staff for all activities of daily living, including getting in and out of bed, dressing, grooming, bathing, hygiene, toileting and medication management.
On September 26, 2018, Gill was admitted to Loma Linda University Medical Center to have a tube inserted into a blood vessel as part of her medical treatment. That same day, Gill suffered a fall at the hospital. When her family arrived at the hospital, they found bruising and a bump on Gill’s head. Further post-fall examinations revealed that Gill had also suffered a hip fracture, which required surgical intervention.
The lawsuit alleges that a nurse at the hospital intentionally tried to conceal the circumstances surrounding the fall, falsely explaining that Gill’s fall occurred after she swung her legs over the bed during an assisted transfer to the bathroom. At the time of the fall incident, Gill had been bedridden for three months and was much too weak to either sit up or swing her legs over the bed.
Remarkably, even after her fall, the hospital continued to ignore Gill’s care needs, the suit alleges. Gill had been admitted into the hospital with a known history of suffering from dangerous and painful infections, yet the hospital did not implement a care plan to observe her for signs and symptoms of infection.
On October 3, 2018, Gill was discharged to a skilled nursing facility for post-operative rehabilitation. Upon her discharge, Gill was discovered to have an MRSA blood infection. Her health rapidly declined during the week following discharge from the hospital, and she never fully recovered from the fall and other injuries she had suffered.
On October 10, 2018, Gill was returned to the hospital to be treated for septic shock and multi-organ failure. Shockingly, the wrongful withholding of necessary care continued unabated during this second stay, the lawsuit alleges. For example, Gill endured significant medication errors, including on one occasion having an adverse reaction to Seroquel, an antipsychotic medication.
Further, the suit alleges that the hospital then proceeded to physically abuse Gill by restraining both arms to her bed, which left severe swelling and bruising throughout her arms and wrists.
On October 28, 2018, Gill passed away. Sadly, she spent the end of her life enduring painful and aggressive treatment in the intensive care unit for entirely preventable injuries, the lawsuit asserts.
On December 26, 2018, Gill’s family, through counsel, requested that the hospital make her patient records available in accordance with state and federal laws. As of this filing, the hospital has blatantly ignored this request in an unfortunate effort to further conceal its actions. The hospital continues to hide Gill’s records in an ongoing effort to hide the truth, the lawsuit alleges.