A former psychiatric assistant brought suit alleging he was retaliated against and fired for making numerous complaints to his superiors about unsafe patient care and conditions at Del Amo Hospital. He raised concerns about patient neglect and failures in assessing patients for suicide or injury. For example, he claimed a patient’s suicide could have been prevented, had his supervisors and hospital managers acted on his warnings about the safety risks of wheeled beds. According to the complaint, no precautions were taken and the patient later hung himself by rolling the bed to the door. The complaint also alleged that the hospital compromised patient care and safety as a result of its intentional understaffing, untrained staff, non-medical personnel directing patient care, and inadequate medical equipment and medical protocols.
It also alleged that that the hospital’s policy of monitoring violent patients at an “arm’s length” distance was unsafe. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the former psychiatric assistant was attacked by a violent patient on previous occasions because of the policy and was allegedly terminated for disobeying the policy when tasked with monitoring an aggressive, HIV-positive patient.
The parties reached a settlement in August 2011 and the case was dismissed shortly thereafter.