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“Rampant neglect and mistreatment”

My father, Edward Martin, was riding a bicycle when he was struck by a vehicle in the bike lane. The collision broke his neck. After emergency CPR at the scene, he was transported to a university hospital in Sacramento where he received good care.

Within days, he was moved to his health provider’s facility, also in Sacramento. In Intensive Care unit, his care was adequate, but when he was moved to the long term care facility downstairs, he was ignored, neglected and he became very critically ill. The staff was rarely available for his needs and the feeding tube had been inserted improperly by an unqualified staff person who misplaced the tube. Liquid food was pouring into his abdomen instead of his stomach. In the course of this rampant neglect and mistreatment, numerous medical errors occurred. He developed lung damage from orderlies using suction equipment improperly, was dropped multiple times by nurses and staff while transporting him from bed to chair, he was told to sit in a chair for three hours without turning or moving to qualify for rehabilitation in another hospital- this led to bedsores as quads cannot sit on same spot for more than thirty minutes without damaging the skin.

He was too ill for a rehab facility to manage him so he was moved to a pulmonary unit at the same hospital. Various units in the facility didn’t know how to manage a quadriplegic so the advice and care he received in the pulmonary unit actually aggravated his condition. He did recover enough to participate in rehab but his condition was so grave, that he was unable to receive much benefit from physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.

The family was trained to provide his care at home and he was discharged home in December 2003. He continued to struggle with home rehab for 2.5 years. It is unknown to me, at what time he was exposed to the MRSA virus as numerous ER trips were accomplished during many breathing crises. The MRSA treatments offered and recommended would have damaged his kidneys. A less effective and less damaging option was provided but eventually the toll on his immune system and will to live became too much for his system and his psychological resources. My father passed away at home on May 27, 2006 after 8 weeks on hospice.

Written by Ludean Mines, MSW.