RED BLUFF, Calif. (CN) – A 73-year-old woman died of a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury after St. Elizabeth Hospital and Hospice Care and Enloe Medical Center rebuffed the pleas of her husband and daughter to take X-rays, the family says. The husband and daughter say defendants did no tests before proclaiming that Emma Solis had “dementia” and sent her to hospice care to die.
Narciso Solis and daughter Estelina Solis sued the medical facilities, Dr. Marie Tumusok and a Doe emergency room doctor in Tehama County Court. They seek damages wrongful death, dependent elder abuse, negligence and Emma Solis’ pain and suffering.
“During November 2009, Emma Gloria Solis was seen by defendants with complaints of sudden onset of headache, vomiting, weakness, memory loss, dehydration, severe pain, dizziness and other neurologic complaints,” the complaint states. “During such time, defendants, and each of them, deliberately ignored and disregarded her complaints and attributed them to dementia, even though prior to this event, she had been happily living at home, independently with her husband and had been able to care for herself. Prior to this sudden onset, she had been able to perform all of her activities of daily living, had been able to cook and clean for herself, had a good relationship with her husband and children, and had been able to have normal enjoyment of her life. This sudden onset was an abrupt change in her behavior and condition. Instead of performing any diagnostic testing or admitting her to an acute care hospital, the defendants placed her in hospice care, intending that she would remain there until her death from ‘dementia.’ Despite plaintiffs’ pleas to have her admitted to the hospital, to have head imaging performed, other diagnostic testing or consultations with specialists, she was left to languish in severe pain and without any medical care whatsoever until she died. Upon her death, an autopsy was performed at which time it was discovered that she had a traumatic skull fracture with brain injury of the right frontal lobe, none of which was diagnosed or treated by defendants, since they were treating her as a patient with end-stage dementia. It was apparent that prior to her sudden onset of symptoms, she had suffered head trauma which caused her severe brain damage leading to the symptoms that were cavalierly referred to as dementia.”
The family is represented by Philip Michels with Michels & Watkins of Los Angeles.