Whittier Facility Sued for Wrongful Death

Whittier, Calif. – Rather than providing proper care and supervision, Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital continuously neglected one of its patients, Charles Wesley Cole, allowing him to suffer numerous falls that ultimately resulted in his death.

“Despite Charles’ change in condition, the facility concealed his pain and failed to timely notify his physician or family,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “In fact, they simply denied that Charles had undergone any change of condition when confronted, allowing him to suffer immense pain for several weeks.”

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital for elder abuse, negligence and wrongful death after Cole suffered an entirely preventable fall that caused him several injuries that were concealed by both the facility and staff.

On December 25, 2015, Cole was admitted to the facility after having a misstep at his home, which resulted in two bruised ribs. He was examined for further injury, and was discharged back home two days later. After only a few hours at home, Cole began spitting up blood and was readmitted back to the facility.

On January 5, 2016, Cole was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, where there was little to no available monitoring or supervision. The call light response time was extremely low, and at one point Cole waited nearly two hours for assistance. Despite being fully aware of Cole’s high risk for falls and injury, staff members continued to leave him unattended.

The same day, when Cole’s wife and daughter visited, they noticed him wincing in pain. They inspected his body and discovered some swelling on his torso. A nurse came in but quickly left after Cole’s family began questioning her. Regardless of his complaints of pain in his back and ribs, the facility discharged him on January 22, 2016, without performing an X-ray or CT scan.

After Cole was released home, his complaints of back and rib pain only became more frequent, and two days later his family readmitted him to the hospital. The facility held him overnight and he finally received an X-ray, which revealed that his complaints stemmed from severe fractures in his back and ribs. However, the facility still did not notify his family or physician.

It was later discovered that Cole’s bed rails had not been up on the night of his fall, and that he had been heavily medicated and left completely unattended. This caused him to fall and suffer compression fractures in his spine and ribs.

On January 28, 2016, Cole was taken in for an MRI. When he came out, his mouth was bloody and seven to eight teeth were broken. Cole had indeed fallen again, which resulted in a direct impact of his face onto the floor.

He was placed back into bed, and his fall was never recorded. Cole never recovered from his injuries and passed away on March 17, 2016.