A Fresno nursing home faces a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a man who died of COVID-19, which alleges the infection was caused by neglect and a lack of proper care at the facility.
The complaint was filed by the family of Santiago Gonzalez filed the complaint in Tulare County, California, alleging that nursing home neglect at the Redwood Springs Healthcare Center in Visalia resulted in the residents death at the age of 87.
According to a report in the Fresno Bee, the lawsuit claims that 124 residents and 71 employees at the nursing home have contracted coronavirus since the pandemic began. Of those, 20 residents have died.
The lawsuit blames nursing home neglect on the COVID-19 outbreak, indicating the facility failed to put proper measures in place to prevent infections and deaths.
Gonzalez’s family says the nursing home did not adequately stock up on personal protective equipment (PPE); did not adequately monitor staff, employees and residents for signs of infection; and allowed staff members to continue working even if they had infection-related symptoms or if they had actually tested positive for the ailment.
Although Gonzales tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3, the family was told he was doing fine and was not running a temperature, according to the Fresno Bee report. However, seven days later he was dead.
Federal investigators are exploring the possibility of nursing home neglect playing a role in the COVID-19 outbreak, which was first detected in a nursing home in Washington State that became the epicenter for the U.S. pandemic. Investigators say the nursing home failed to respond to the outbreak adequately, placing residents in jeopardy of illness and death.
Facing growing criticism and lawsuits, many nursing homes are seeking immunity from coronavirus death lawsuits. However, opponents point out that will further endanger residents, shielding facilities from liability when they fail to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Currently, there are 4.75 million confirmed COVID-19 infections nationwide, and more than 157,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.