RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) - A son claims a Kaiser hospital ignored his wealthy father's power of attorney so the plaintiff's greedy siblings could collect multimillion-dollar inheritances.
Hector Noval sued Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and affiliates, a doctor and two social workers on behalf of his father, Victorino Noval, who died in May 2010 after a "terminal extubation." Noval says his father had been involuntarily admitted to Kaiser's intensive care unit for pneumonia on April 28, 2010, while suffering from early-stage of Parkinson's and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Before being hospitalized, Noval, 78, "lived in his own home, drove his own vehicle, and performed his own activities of daily living," according to the Superior Court complaint. "He was worth $60 million and had annual income of $3 million. He made investments and controlled his finances. He suffered from no neurological deficiencies. He did not have dementia or diminished capacity, He functioned independent of others. He was in no way nearing death, an irreversible coma, or a persistent vegetative state. Upon hospitalization, he only required temporary oxygen support while the pneumonia infection in his lungs cleared and he regained his strength. His condition was no more serious than that."
However, Hector Noval says, two of his sisters, Lourdes Frost and Tania Noval, told Kaiser doctors, "falsely and fraudulently," that their father had "'advanced' Parkinson's disease" and had been declining for 6 months before his hospitalization.
He claims that his siblings' false and fraudulent statements included "that he 'would not want to be hooked to a machine like a ventilator,' even if just temporarily, and that 'he had expressed this to [his] daughter both when he is well, and when not so well.' Frost and Noval told defendants that decedent 'would not [have] wanted to be resuscitated if he is to pass away ... he would want to die peacefully if that was to happen.' Each of these statements were untrue. Defendants performed no diligence into their veracity and accepted them as true."
Neither sister is named as a defendant.
Plaintiff Noval claims that on the day his father was admitted, April 28, 2010, he "expressed his desire that decedent be transported to Cedar Sinai in Beverly Hills, California for treatment and that he not be treated at Kaiser. Defendants acknowledged these desires but refused to honor them." (Emphasis in complaint.)
Noval says he has three adult siblings. He says his sisters Lourdes Frost and Tania Noval "desired decedent's death to collect their multimillion-dollar inheritances." He claims that Tania Noval "had a pre-existing relationship with [defendant social worker Anthony] Tapia.
Hector Noval claims that after his father was "sedated for comfort," Frost filed with Kaiser a copy of their father's durable power of attorney for health care, dating from July 1999. He says the power of attorney named him and Frost as their father's attorney in fact, and that California law required the defendants to get consent from both of them to make health care decisions for their father.
But he says, "Defendants did not of this. They never disclosed the DPOA [durable power of attorney] to plaintiff or advised him of his rights or responsibilities therein. Neither did Frost or [defendant] Noval. Plaintiff was never made aware of the DPOA or his rights and responsibilities therein."
In the days that followed, Hector Noval says, his father's doctor, defendant Richard Bradburne, and social worker Tapia met with his sisters and discussed their father's condition, medical outlook and quality of life.