Long Beach Facility Sued for Wrongful Death

In a lawsuit filed by Garcia, Artigliere & Medby, Palmcrest Care and Rehabilitation Center located in Long Beach, California, is being sued for elder abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, and the wrongful death of one of its residents, Jesus Fernando Luna.

“The expectation was that Jesus would experience an improved quality of life when he moved into this facility, not his premature death,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “What they did to him was reprehensible. They were care custodians in name only.”

Upon Mr. Luna’s admission, the facility acknowledged and accepted that he was wheelchair-bound and was living with ailments such as diabetes, renal failure, incontinence of bowel and bladder, dysphagia and recurrent pneumonia. They also accepted the fact that he was a high risk resident who would require and receive frequent interventions and timely attention.

During his four-month stay at the facility, Mr. Luna did not receive even minimal care despite pleas from his family who complained that his mouth was dirty and smelled badly. Mr. Luna could not ask for help because his emergency call light was often found on the floor and out of his reach. Additionally, Mr. Luna was forced to wear a soiled diaper for extended periods of time, and was left in the same position for many hours.

In early January 2016, Mr. Luna’s condition took a drastic turn for the worse when he developed a respiratory infection that quickly developed into pneumonia.

According to the lawsuit, Mr. Luna’s daughter reported that her father’s face was red, that he had a massive amount of phlegm in his mouth, he was complaining about severe pain in his left leg, and that his physician should be notified; however, the nurse nonchalantly responded to her by saying that “[her] father was fine and that she had too many patients to go check on him.”

After Mr. Luna was admitted to Long Beach Memorial Hospital on January 4, 2016, doctors were shocked to discover that he had a high fever and was also suffering from malnourishment, dehydration, septic shock and pneumonia. These same doctors demanded to know why Mr. Luna was not transferred to the hospital sooner because they concluded that his respiratory infection could have been cured and that he would have survived if the facility had acted more promptly.

After being placed on a ventilator, Mr. Luna passed away on January 9, 2016.

Palmcrest Care and Rehabilitation Center has repeatedly been issued deficiencies by California Department of Public Health for failing to provide care that was promised and which they were required to perform as a licensed healthcare facility.