Lawsuit Filed: St. Jude Medical Center Sued for Elder Abuse

Fullerton, Calif.— St. Jude Medical Center, a general acute care hospital, was aware that Paul Long was a significant risk for the development of pressure sores—especially after becoming paralyzed from the waist down. St. Jude Medical Center accepted responsibility for Long, knowing full well that he would require daily assistance and monitoring. Unfortunately, it’s alleged that St. Jude Medical Center accepted Long to profit from him versus providing him the required care he needed, resulting in the development of West Nile Virus, a Stage IV pressure sore and sepsis.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against St. Jude Medical Center for elder abuse.

“When Paul entered St. Jude Medical Center, they were well-aware that he had a significant risk for developing pressure sores. It appears that throughout the course of his stay Paul’s needs were completely ignored,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “When Paul developed a severe pressure sore due to the alleged lack of basic care, instead of disclosing this information to Paul’s family and physician, St. Jude Medical Center decided to conceal the sore. It appears St. Jude Medical Center was more focused on financial gain rather than preventing patients like Paul from developing avoidable conditions.”

Allegations & Background

On October 21, 2015, Long was admitted to St. Jude Medical Center Emergency Room because he was not feeling well. Upon his admission, Long’s skin was completely clear and free of any pressure sores. However, shortly after his admission to St. Jude Medical Center, Long became gravely ill.

The lawsuit alleges that one day after Long’s admission into the facility, his health declined and he required a ventilator and the institution of life support mechanisms. The lawsuit also states that Long became paralyzed from the waist down and the facility was attempting to isolate what was causing his illness. Unfortunately, it took the facility approximately one week to determine that Long had contracted West Nile Virus.

On November 25, 2015, Long was transferred to Kindred Hospital Brea—a skilled nursing facility. Kindred conducted a skin assessment which revealed that Long had a Stage IV pressure sore on his tailbone that St. Jude Medical Center had allegedly allowed to fester while he was a patient. The lawsuit alleges that Long was then forced to undergo painful debridement procedures and was then put on a wound vac.

The lawsuit states that according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a hospital acquired Stage III or IV pressure sore is a “never event” which should not occur in a general acute hospital such as St. Jude Medical Center. “Never events” do not happen if proper and adequate care is given by the facility.

On December 17, 2015, Long was transferred back to St. Jude Medical Center because the pic line they had placed in his right arm had become infected, resulting in the development of sepsis. The lawsuit alleges that the pic line formed a blood clot in Long’s arm that had broken off and lodged in his lung. Upon his readmission to St. Jude Medical Center, Long was placed on blood thinners.

A few days later, Long was sent back to Kindred Hospital Brea where he remained until being transferred to another facility in March 2016.

As a result of the neglect he endured at St. Jude Medical Center, Long now has a clot in his right arm that does not allow blood to flow throughout his vein.