An 80-year-old Korean War veteran reached a $1.25 million settlement with the California Department of Veteran’s Affairs on April 1 after being dropped several times by caregivers and suffering a broken back. The settlement was reached after filing a Complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court in which the plaintiff’s attorneys alleged elder abuse, negligence and negligent hiring and supervision.
John Tully was admitted to the Veteran’s Home of California – West Los Angeles on April 29, 2013 after suffering a stroke and two heart attacks, according to court documents. Plaintiff alleged that his physician issued two orders that Tully should have at least two caregivers help him with transfers from his bed to his wheelchair and from a shower chair to his wheelchair. However, there were two documented incidents in which Tully was dropped in the facility when only one caregiver was assisting. Despite that, the facility continued to report to the federal government that Tully was being assisted by two caregivers.
Tully’s attorneys Stephen Garcia and William Artigliere of Garcia, Artigliere & Medby in Long Beach argued that the second of these drops caused a fracture of his T-12 vertebrae including retropulsion into his spinal canal. This left him in severe pain, and eventually unable to move his legs out of a “frog leg” position in bed. As a result of remaining immobile in this position, Mr. Tully developed a Stage IV pressure sore on the outside of his foot. Unfortunately, the risks of surgery on this fracture outweighed the potential benefits to Mr. Tully and the fracture left him without control of his bowels and bladder.
The case is John Tully v. State of California Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Case Number: SC121764, and was venued at the Santa Monica Courthouse before Judge Allan J. Goodman.