San Diego Care Facility Responsible for Patient’s Opioid Overdose

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against Villa Rancho Bernardo Care Center for elder abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, alleging the facility severely neglected one of its patients, Carmen Luevano, by administering her unlawful drugs, which resulted in a near fatal overdose.

“As a result of the facility’s continued course of neglect, Carmen developed and suffered a series of painful pressure ulcers,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Extreme and unlawful measures were taken because the facility did not have sufficient staff to provide Carmen with the care she required.”

In November 2015, Ms. Luevano suffered a minor stroke and a mild heart attack. She was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas and then to Scripps Green Hospital for two stent procedures. On December 26, 2015, Ms. Luevano was transferred to Villa Rancho Bernardo Care Center. At the time of her admission, Ms. Luevano was bedbound and required assistance with her activities of daily living, which included eating, grooming, toileting and administration of medications.

Upon Ms. Luevano’s admission into the facility, staff knew that she required care to prevent the formation and worsening of pressure sores, which included timely attention to ensure that she was not left in her own urine and feces for extended periods. They also knew Ms. Luevano needed assistance with all aspects of her personal hygiene—all of which they completed neglected.

As a result of the continued course of neglect that Ms. Luevano experienced for several months while at the facility, she developed and suffered a series of painful pressure ulcers on her tailbone, buttocks and right shoulder. Additionally, staff failed to monitor her body weight and meet her nutritional needs. The result was an unintended 12 pound weight loss while Ms. Luevano was at the facility.

To make matters worse, staff overmedicated and chemically restrained Ms. Luevano with sedatives, thereby increasing her sedentary nature. The sedatives included Valium and Ativan, neither of which were prescribed by a doctor. The administration of these non-prescribed psychotropic drugs was intentionally concealed from Ms. Luevano’s family by the facility.

In February 2015, Ms. Luevano began to hallucinate, suffered severe anxiety and was lethargic. Her daughter kept asking the staff what was wrong; however, they refused to disclose that Ms. Luevano was being given non-prescribed drugs to sedate her.

Unfortunately, the unlawful over-sedation continued until Ms. Luevano suffered a life-threatening overdose. On March 13, 2016, Ms. Luevano’s daughter went to the facility to visit her mother and found her unresponsive. She immediately screamed out for someone to call 911. After the paramedics rushed Ms. Luevano to the hospital, a urine test confirmed that her overdose was attributed to opioids.

To this day, Ms. Luevano still experiences severe anxiety and is in a state of delirium.