Jury awards millions to woman in Palmdale Regional Medical malpractice suit

Palmdale Regional Medical Center

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles Superior Court jury on Friday returned a verdict in favor of a 26-year-old woman who suffered severe brain injuries after treatment at Palmdale Regional Medical Center.

The jury awarded Dioresly Lora $15 million, according to her attorney Bruce G. Fagel, M.D., J.D.

“The money ensures that she will receive the proper, necessary care for her condition,” Fagel said.

Lora is currently in a “persistent vegetative state” at a neurocare facility in Chatsworth that costs about $1,200 a day, Fagel said.

The lawsuit claimed Lora, who was a Medi-Cal patient, suffered severe permanent brain injuries after being treated at Palmdale Regional Medical Center in late 2011.

Lora was admitted to the emergency room complaining of shortness of breath on November 8, 2011. After treatment in the emergency room for an exacerbation of asthma, Lora was admitted to the telemetry unit of the hospital where she suffered a cardio pulmonary arrest, Fagel said.

The lawsuit claimed the incident happened because the hospital failed to properly monitor Lora’s respiratory condition.

“The doctor had given an order for continuous monitoring of her oxygen saturation using a monitor which is similar to an EKG monitor that’s used for telemetry units,” Fagel said, adding that the nurses did not follow this order.

The jury rejected the hospital’s claim that Lora’s cardio pulmonary arrest was due to an unexpected allergic reaction to medication that she was given that morning.

“What was scary is that the nurses in trying to defend the case basically claimed that they had the authority to order all sorts of tests and do all sorts of things without the doctor’s input, and yet they didn’t want to take responsibility for not following a specific doctor’s orders,” Fagel said.

Lora, who moved to Palmdale to be with her boyfriend in 2009, had just completed her college degree about four months before the incident. A day after the incident, Lora’s 61-year-old mother moved from their hometown in Virginia to provide around-the-clock support to her daughter, Fagel said.

Hortensia Lora filed the lawsuit in late November 2011 on her daughter’s behalf.

The trial was supposed to start on Nov. 15, 2012 at the Antelope Valley courthouse, but due to court congestion and the length of the trial, the case was transferred to a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, Fagel said.  The trial began on Feb. 28.

  39 comments for “Jury awards millions to woman in Palmdale Regional Medical malpractice suit

  1. May 25, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Hi everyone.

    My disabled sister died Mar 2012 from medical negligence. That’s when I learned about California’s tort reform law called MICRA, which limits jury awards for non-economic damages to $250,000. Because of this, most people will never find an attorney to take their case.

    I am now working to get MICRA repealed. If you have experienced medical negligence, either for yourself or someone you know, and have not been able to get a lawyer because of MICRA, or had your jury award reduced, I’d love to hear from you. We need as many people to come together and stand behind getting MICRA repealed.

    You can go to http://www.38istoolate.com to see other stories of medical negligence and get more information about MICRA and tort reform.

    Too many people are being injured or killed in hospitals, and doctors are getting away with it because of MICRA. Don’t just sit back and let this happen!

    • May 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Oh, you can email me at stopmicra@gmail.com

    • Rosenda Gonzalez
      June 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

      I was a patient at palmdale regional medical center i had a very BAD exprient with that hospital i whent to there ER AND ALMOS KILL ME so if there someone that can help me… this happen on May 14 2013 at 9:30 pm or can call me at 661-974-1177 thanx u and if is asap will be better

  2. Anna
    March 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Foolish comments…u guys are fighting over pennies handed out by medi-cal and welfare. Your taxes will help ppl 50 years from now as is 50 years ago to date.
    CORPORATE WELFARE is what u should be concerned with, the tax breaks given to corporations that you deserve also.
    Or, how about the tax exempt churches ?
    Everyone in this country other than native americans are illegal.
    The reference that “illegals” are at fault is the most’ tatardet’ b/s i’ve ever heard….

  3. ryneshia jackson
    March 26, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    all the hospitals in the av are like dealing with the county might as well take yourself the olive view

  4. Mrs Dent
    March 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    My mother was taken to this hospital 10/15/2011. She wasnt feeling well and we assumed she was coming down with the flu. When she was taken by ambulance, we were advised she had a sudden onset of diabetes. Her Blood Sugar was 1300. They kept her in the emergency room until a room in ICU became available. While in the ER,slowly her sugar level started to drop. It got down to 333 when she was finally admitted to ICU. While there, a nurse kept giving her insulin that was’nt injected properly. Her arm was black and blue and you can see the insulin went everywhere except her vein. We were able to feel the liquid (insulin) in her arm. It was burning her or something because she kept moving her arm like it was uncomfortable. She couldnt talk, and she was incoherant but clearly something was wrong with her. My aunt noticed the nurse giving her insulin in the arm that was already black and blue. She didnt feel right about the nurse not finding another place to give her insulin so she went down the hall and got another nurse who happened to be a phlebotomist. That nurse was shocked at what he saw and advised my aunt she (nurse)didnt know what she was doing and she should’ve got help if she couldnt find a vein before continously poking her in a now sensative area. He stated the new nurse would be on shift soon and could better care for her because she knows what sheis doing. the new shift was coming on and while they were doing their rounds, the night nurses leaving were going back and forth with the new shift saying they should’ve had her incubated because her condition was serious. While they were bickering about who should’ve had her incubated, she went into cardiac arrest. My mother was admitted approx 7pm 10/15/2011 and @ 7:49am 10/16, she was gone, passed away when she went into cardiac arrest. Her Blood sugar rose again to 714. She had no vital monitors on her. not even the BP machine mind you she is in ICU. She was 49 and gone just like that. The docs in ER advised the worst case scenario would be she’d have to take insulin for life and to learn about diabetes so we can know when she’s having a reaction. She never got a chance to tell us why her arm was in the condition it was in. She didnt even know what was going on with her body(diabetes. I still think about this daily and still want answers because I’m not at peace with her death. I’m currently seeking a lawyer who can help me get answers if it’s not too late. I can now talk about this without breaking down. I’m sorry to hear about the condition Ms Lora is in. My prayers are with her and her family and friends.

    • Nurse in Av
      April 13, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      Ok first of all when you inject insulin it is injected into the tissues in fatty areas of your body. It is NOT injected directly into your vein. If a phlebolomist is advising you that the nurse was during it wrong because they weren’t injecting it into the vein the phlebotomist needs to be fired for giving false medical advise that is clearly out of their knowledge base.

  5. Briefs
    March 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Wow. It’s terrible to see that I’m not the only one who had an issue with the “High Tech” Palmdale Regional Medical Center. I’m also 26 years old, but my problem was so minor compared to Ms. Lora.

    I was having a constant burning ball of pain in my abdomen for about a week last November and was forced to call an ambulance when I couldn’t breathe. The hospital dismissed it as “really bad heartburn” and sent me home with a prescription for Prilosec (which I couldn’t afford, since Kaiser doesn’t cover it).

    Thanksgiving morning I wound up heading to Kaiser’s Urgent Care in Lancaster, where the doctor said that my recent pregnancy plus symptoms pointed towards gallstones. I was sent to A.V. Hospital for possible surgery, only to be told by A.V. that I was fine and didn’t have kidney stones. ( yeah, I went “What?” too.)

    My dad got angry and decided to drive me all the way to the Kaiser in Panorama City. Long story short, I had to stay in the hospital for over a week to have my gall bladder removed, and lost precious bonding time with my then 2 month old.
    It sucks that all this money is going into these facilities for “up to date medical equipment” and supposed better health care. It sucks even more that these are our only choices for emergency situations also, unless you have the time or insurance to drive to the valley.

    • March 25, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      I had a severe reaction to a particular antibiotic. Ambulance was called, went to AV. Never again. Spent hours in the ER being treated for “shortness of breath”. Saw a doctor once in 9 hours. But they made sure to bill the heck out of my insurance. I only go to doctors here in the AV recommended by co-workers and friends. Now have 3 really good doctors. But for a real emergency I’d go down below also.

      Once saw nurses from AV mixing drinks out of the trunk of their car while parked at the liquor store across from hospital. It’s wonder no-one noticed when they got back. These are healthcare “professionals”? There are some really good ones out there, but the bad outweigh the good sometimes.

      • Jerry
        March 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

        I assume, then, that you witnessed the bottles labeled as alcoholic and then witnessed the nurses returning to the hospital and clocking in for work?

        • March 26, 2013 at 5:48 pm

          I watched them BUY the bottles. Then I watched them drive back to the hospital. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out they were drinking on the job.

          • Gladys
            March 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm

            Not to mention the guys who work for the transportation dept, within AV Hosp, who leave on their lunch hour and smoke weed, then go back to work.

        • Jenny C
          June 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm

          I also had to report nurses drinking on the job there, during my step-dad’s surgery. Scary.

    • William
      March 27, 2013 at 10:29 am

      You had a ‘constant burning pain for about a week’ and didn’t see your doctor or go to Urgent Care???? Hmmm. And you are caring for a newborn???

  6. Moni
    March 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Palmdale Regional Hospital is greatly HATED!!
    My two year old was unable to breath- after six hours in the waiting room I confronted the nurse and told them we were leaving, all he had to say was “We still have to charge your insurance”
    Like I care, charge them twice if you want to I had to take my daught elsewhere.

    • Al Cushman
      March 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      If you live in the South Valley use Palmdale Hospital, demand prompt service, if you don’t get it I am sure the Mayor Of Lancaster will take your case.

      • Jerry
        March 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm

        Demand prompt service?

    • Brenda
      March 25, 2013 at 5:12 am

      Why would you take your 2 year old to a facility ill equiped to handle pediatric emergencies? Parents have a responsibity to educate themselves and in doing so would know that Palmdale Regional is not a facility equipped for pediatric emergencies.

      • Gladys
        March 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

        A child needing a breathing treatment isn’t usually considered something a Hospital Emergency room should have trouble with. The point is, the nurses left her child untreated for 6 hours in the waiting room. They ALWAYS have an excuse.

        • Nurse in Av
          April 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

          Unfortunately the hospitals are so over run with people who should not be going to the emergency room. If you have the flu or a cold please people I know you feel like you are dying but your NOT! Emergency room nurses are so over worked and not given the kudos they deserve. If they only had to deal with the true emergencys and not all the people who get drunk and can’t handle themselves and get a hang nail then they would have the time it takes to take care of the true emergencys

      • Wow
        March 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

        Really Brenda? Parents should be educated on which hospitals have good pediatric facilities? Apparently, some people have much more time on their hands than others. I don’t do research on hospitals before I head to their EMERGENCY room.

  7. sanadia
    March 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Blaming it on illegals is completely stupid and irrelevant. The health care staff (nurses) are at fault. I thought Palmdale Regional was supposed to be state of the art as compared to A.V. Hospital.
    I believe that this family deserved this settlement as it will take a lot to care for the young lady that is in a vegetative state. It’s not anyone’s fault when the doctors, nurses and hospital are negligent and don’t do their job properly.
    Only scumbags and ignorant people blame illegals (improper word for sure). Don’t you realize your ancestors were the first illegals to land on Plymouth Rock…get over it.

  8. S.S.
    March 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    This is a tough one, I know, My Daughter went down this path 10 years ago. She finally took her own life 2 years ago at the age of 33, leaving a 15 yo daughter and a 13 yo Son currently living in QH with Great Ant on mothers side attending Desert Christian H.S. Problem is those kids are entilted to hugh amount of settlement money as adults. I doubt they will ever see it, cause Grandmother and Ant are lieing scum sucking trailer trash programed to steal.

    • J. Ripper
      March 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Great A(u)nt on mother’s side would be your sister, would it not? Or your aunt? Question is why aren’t they living with you if you’re their grandmother? Why would they be with a different relative within your side of their family? (I assume by “mothers side” you mean your daughter’s side of the family?)

  9. Julie
    March 23, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Until publicly traded healthcare companies that monopolize the market and raise premiums every year to show shareholders a profit…and this is BC/BS,Kaiser,United Healthcare,etc….what you can go and buy yourself, the premiums will just keep growing…illegals won’t be the problem, it will be the majority of ALL Americans…ObamaDOESCare..willl it stop premiums from going up? Unsure at this point…basically if we all have it, will premiums be lowered because they’ve all got our business? Ultimately the public option is the answer!

    • Al Cushman
      March 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

      I have a problem with for profit Hospitals. Health Care is one place the greedy Wall Streeters should be banned.

      • Raptormann
        March 24, 2013 at 7:07 am

        The worse hospitals in the country are public, not private. Private hospitals have done more to increase health care standards in this country. Remember what happened at King Drew, or as the locals down there called it “Killer King?”

        Socialism lowers standards across the board.

        • Al Cushman
          March 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm

          I said “For Profit” there are many ie. Kaiser, that are not for profit.

      • Julie
        March 24, 2013 at 8:05 pm

        Exactly what I’m saying Al, although I got 6 thumbs down so far…wah…

    • frank rizzo
      March 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Obama does not care, if he did why did he and the democrats ram through a bill that stated you have to buy health care from an insurance company. Insurance companies are for profit.

      Fording americans to buy healthcare insurance is unconstitutional. It would be nice if all the democrats, hippies and communists could die in a horrible car accident or catch syphillys.

  10. NIMBY
    March 23, 2013 at 7:47 am

    “Lora was a Medi-Cal patient….” Unfortunately this will become more common once Obamadoesn’tCare is fully implemented on January 1st 2014. Sad!

    • carly
      March 23, 2013 at 8:18 am

      I suppose one negligent case is the answer to throw out Obama Care and keep thousands upon thousands of citizens uninsured. Let’s not train the ill-trained, let’s keep the down, DOWN.

      • Told_Ya_So aka Forewarned
        March 23, 2013 at 8:35 am

        Carly, Google individual insurance and tons of health insurance companies come up! You can buy health insurance if you want. When I was younger I didn’t have insurance UNTIL I found a job. I didn’t expect others to pay for my health insurance. That’s why I got a job! Those on public assistance get Medi-Cal. Do the research Carly, most of the uninsured are the illegals. Why is it MY responsibility to insure other people? Please keep your bleeding heart lib tard hands OUT of my pocket!!!!

        • The Homeless
          March 23, 2013 at 2:43 pm

          @Told_Ta_So: Why so angry with the Illegals? Focus on the problem ID!0t, Negligence is the Topic. No matter who was paying for her care, the St})*pit Nurses were picking their nose and chatting instead of doing their job.
          If I am paying for a Double Cheese Burger at the Restaurant:
          Do I supposed to receive a single Cheeseburger, just because I am paying with my Debit (NOT EBT) card?, and Double Cheese Burger If I paid CASH?
          All you white people always trying to blame the Illegals for everything.
          Do you really think that Illegals don’t pay sales TAX when they make purchases if they mention to the cashier that they are Illegals?
          Do you think they don’t pay Sales TAX when they pay for Fuel? Do you really think they are EXEMPT from Federal and STATE taxes on their Payroll checks if they mention their Employers that they are Illegals?
          Get your facts straight before you open your “smelly”, and dirty Mouse……

          • Gladys
            March 23, 2013 at 11:21 pm

            This statement is not fair and is not true, “All you white people always trying to blame the Illegals for everything.”

            I for one do not feel that way. What exactly is an illegal, anyway?

            I do have a problem with people who don’t believe in working. People who wouldn’t work if you begged them and (novel concept) offered to pay them.

            Lots of people in this community, all colors, shapes and sizes, seem to make visiting social service offices their full time job. And why wouldn’t the? From the looks of most of their cars, purses, manicures and pedicures, they are doing pretty well. smh

            Try finding a parking place at the Social Security Office on 20th W. It is full of nice cars with disabilty hangers on their mirrors. (Aren’t disabled stickers for people with physical disabilities who need closer access to a building?) Most are younger people, some with small children. Why are they getting social security ?

            I feel bad for this Mother who now will spend the rest of her life taking care of her grown daughter.

            Shame on the nurses. I think they probably said things on the stand because they were afraid for their jobs. Wouldn’t be the first time. No one ever wants to accept responsibility when they screw up.

          • Told_Ya_So aka Forewarned
            March 24, 2013 at 7:21 am

            I’m guessin’ you have a limited education because your reply makes absolutely no sense. You state: “No matter who was paying for her care…” Well Homeless…I do! I’m guessin’ (by your name “The homeless”) that you’re not employed so you’re not paying any taxes so you could care less! I am not “angry” at the illegals but let me ask you this obtuse one….what is your definition of the word illegal…I bet ya it isn’t the same as mine (and other LEGAL citizens) definition!?!

        • William
          March 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm

          @Told-ya-So. Sure, you didn’t expect others to pay for your health insurance but, without it, who did you expect to pay for your health CARE if you had to go to an ER with a major trauma or serious disease or any other unexpected health issue needing emergency treatment?

          I love your shallow and incomplete thought process. It’s so typical of you.

  11. Michael Rives
    March 23, 2013 at 6:29 am

    God Bless Ms Lora. I hope her lawyer doesn’t get 40% of the judgment which is usually the case, unfortunately, when it is taken on a contigency case and goes to court.

    March 23, 2013 at 1:10 am

    I know that her award is not going to bring her back to a state where she can enjoy the life she lived before this occurrence and it’s sad to say that yet another medical place will eat up her money for her just to remain in that bed.
    My father was in that hospital in 2011. He was diagnosed with anerisim of the Iliac artery in the leg two. One was leaking and had been leaking. First the doctor told me that he would take my dad to a room where it was quaint until he dies meaning, bleed to death. My dad still had all his capacities and all he wanted was for his stomach to stop hurting. He also had COPD which the hospital knew that he had to walk to alleviate the mucus but that didn’t happen. They told me he was coming home hospice because he had pneumonia and wouldn’t allow techs to poke him of insulin or and INR. He left there to a rehab… and they do did not allow him to get up to walk due to seizures occurring. That is when my dad said “i’m dying” and he certainly did the Nobel thing a veteran would do. Went home and waited for GOD to come pick him up…. I wish the family the best but for Lora, may you remain strong until God comes your way for a full recovery or a trip to heaven.

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