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Medical Malpractice Suit Filed After Woman Died on Hospital ER Floor

The family of a woman who died in an en emergency room waiting area is suiing Los Angeles County for negligence, wrongful death and medical malpractice.

And their hourly rate is expensive. The family filed a $45M lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, charging one million dollars for every minute Edith Rodriguez lie on the floor, writhing in pain and vomiting blood while being ignored by staff at Martin Luther King, Jr.-Harbor Hospital a Los Angeles County-operated facility.

A bystander stepped in and dialed 9-1-1 on a cell phone to summon paramedics but they didn’t respond to transport her to another hospital.

Perforated Bowel Cause of Death

On May 9 Rodriguez was seen by ER personnel at King-Harbor and discharged before she returned to the ER waiting room, crying in pain. Rodriguez actually was suffering from a perforated bowel and died on the floor.

L.A. Police Department arrived on the scene and took Rodriguez back into the ER. When they ran a criminal check on Rodriguez, police learned she was wanted for a parole violation. LAPD arrested her and while taking Rodriguez to a patrol car, became unresponsive. Police brought her back into the hospital, where she died.

The L.A. County Coroner's office ruled her death accidental which didn’t sit well with the family attorney. “She was a human being, and they treated her like an animal," said Franklin Casco Jr., who is representing Rodriguez's three children, Edmundo, Christina and Kimberly Rodriguez, all of Bakersfield. "She could have been saved."

Hospital Failed Federal Inspection, Lost Funding

Twenty-three days after Rodriguez’s death, the hospital failed another federal inspection for patient care, forcing its closure as a hospital. The facility now is an outpatient clinic and urgent care center. The Los Angeles Times reported the hospital has been criticized for its poor patient care since it opened in 1972. The final failed inspection meant the loss of $200 million in federal funding, half the facility’s budget.