A horrific and tragic story is told by the surviving loved ones of 65-year-old Concepcion Covarrubias. Her children allege that her death was caused by abuse and negligence at South Coast Global Medical Center in Santa Ana, California. After surviving a COVID-19 infection, this beloved matriarch was lost due to preventable error and mistreatment.
Medical malpractice and hospital negligence are two overlapping areas of law. They allow injured patients or surviving family members to hold healthcare workers accountable for errors or incompetence. Another specific area of concern here is elder abuse.
Benjamin Ikuta of Hodes Milman Ikuta has filed suit on behalf of Concepcion’s family against South Coast Global Medical Center. If you need similar representation, contact the medical malpractice and wrongful death attorneys at Hodes Milman, LLP by calling (949) 640-8222. For more details about this case and relevant legal information, read on.
What Are the Allegations Against the Santa Ana Hospital?
Here are the circumstances surrounding the death of Concepcion Covarrubias:
- Concepcion was admitted to Santa Ana Hospital on July 7, 2020 due to COVID-19 infection.
- A nasogastric tube was inserted through her nose to her stomach, to provide her with necessary medication and nutrition.
- Her children did all that they could to provide meals and comfort to their mother, but were not allowed to visit their mother due to the hospital asserting pandemic protocols.
- After Concepcion tested negative for COVID-19, her children were finally able to see her in person on August 28, 2020.
- Her children were horrified to find their mother lethargic and in filthy conditions—they witnessed and recorded the moment when “two or possibly three dozen maggots” (according to the nurse’s own notes) came crawling out of the tube, and out of Concepcion’s nose and mouth.
- Concepcion passed away just days later on August 21, 2020.
The lawsuit filed by attorney Benjamin Ikuta charges South Coast Global Medical Center with elder abuse, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and wrongful death.
What Does the Presence of Maggots Inside a Patient Mean?
Maggots are fly larvae, which means that flies were able to land on the area and lay eggs. The presence of flies in a hospital is an indication of unsanitary conditions, as the movement of flies can spread infection and disease. Specifically, common houseflies are known to carry pathogens that cause typhoid fever, E. coli infection, and cholera.
Maggots feed on dead tissue. In some cases, sterile, lab-grown maggots are used to treat wounds like diabetic foot ulcers, as they can function for “debridement,” or the removal of dead or unhealthy tissue. However, the sudden appearance of maggots inside of neglected patients indicates there is dead tissue that has gone unnoticed by hospital staff.
Dead tissue can lead to further health complications, including infection, rot, and an overwhelmed immune system. For a patient like Concepcion who arrived at the hospital fighting for her life against a COVID-19 infection, the unclean conditions she was exposed to may have contributed to or caused her untimely death.
The negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) charged in the lawsuit against South Coast Global Medical Center is also relevant here. Not only was Concepcion herself mistreated, alone, and largely ignored while on her deathbed, her children are now left with the horrific images and knowledge of what happened to their mother. The family will have to cope with that emotional duress along with their grief, an extra burden that never should have fallen on them.
Reach out to Hodes Milman, LLP for legal help with elder abuse, hospital negligence, medical malpractice, or wrongful death—the sooner you act, the more harm may be prevented.
What Are Signs of Elder Abuse and Hospital Negligence?
Signs of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can come in various forms, including neglect, financial, verbal, sexual, or physical abuse. Signs that may indicate elder abuse include:
- The person seeming confused, depressed, or withdrawn
- Isolation from friends and family
- Unexplained injuries like bruises, burns, or scars
- Poor conditions like appearing dirty, dehydrated, underfed, over- or undermedicated, or with untreated medical problems
- Bed sores or signs of other preventable conditions
- The presence of flies, gnats, roaches, mice, or other nuisances, indicating poor facility maintenance and hygiene
In Concepcion’s case, the hospital was able to hide behind pandemic protocols as an excuse to isolate the patient, and conceal the obvious signs of her mistreatment from her family.
Signs of Hospital Negligence
Potential signs of hospital negligence include:
- Contracting a new disease or infection while receiving treatment
- Experiencing symptoms that do not match the diagnosis
- Observing failures of standard hospital protocols (lack of gloves or sterilization)
- Being prematurely discharged when dangerous symptoms are still present
- Having health concerns ignored or dismissed by medical staff
Once again, these are signs that were present in Concepcion’s case. Her suffering and the anguish of her family could have been prevented by proper medical care.
The attorneys at Hodes Milman Ikuta will gather evidence showing abuse and neglect in Concepcion’s case. We will submit that documentation in a courtroom setting in an effort to obtain justice for her and her family. In doing so, we also seek to change industry standards of care, and prevent such a profound, preventable loss from ever happening again.
How Can You Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer?
The law firm of Hodes Milman, LLP has extensive experience in securing justice for medical malpractice cases, including multi-million dollar verdicts for negligent hospital treatment. We also focus on justice for elders, including a $485,000 settlement for a 79-year-old woman injured due to hospital negligence, and a $165,000 verdict on behalf of a 95-year old malpractice victim.
In addition to charges of elder abuse and hospital neglect, there is also the matter of wrongful death in the Concepcion Covarrubias case. By filing a wrongful death claim, Concepcion’s family is seeking justice for their mother, and also helping future patients by holding this Santa Ana hospital accountable.
If you or a loved one need legal representation for elder abuse, hospital negligence, medical malpractice, or wrongful death, reach out to Hodes Milman, LLP today. We can be contacted through our online form, or by calling (949) 640-8222. The sooner you act, the more harm may be prevented for you, your family, and other vulnerable patients in need of help.