Archive for wrongful deaths

Are Addiction Treatment Centers Slowly Becoming Death Traps?

Drug addiction is one of the greatest challenges claiming more lives than road accidents in America. The country has around 23 million addicts, making rehab a lucrative business. Since President George W. Bush signed a law that saw insurance companies start paying for rehab and enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, there has been a significant increase in the number of addiction treatment centers.

Most addicts and their families now view the centers as their only hope in their attempt to overcome alcohol and drug addiction. Some of these facilities have seen as many as over 63 percent of former patients abstain from taking drugs one year after treatment. It’s no secret that the centers have helped the patients to overcome drug addiction and become productive again.

However, the high demand for rehab services has allowed profiteers to make money from the most vulnerable population. There are fears that some incompetent addiction centers would rather host the patients against their wish than take them to a better hospital to get the necessary treatment. Consequently, it is not uncommon for outwardly healthy people to enter into these facilities and die shortly in mysterious ways due to medical incompetence and negligence.

Deaths Caused by Negligence and Incompetence

There are many rehab patient’s deaths which have occurred due to incompetence and medical negligence. The most notable one being that of Madison Cross, a 22-year-old woman who sought addiction treatment at Serenity Care Center. At the center, she showed intensifying signs of distress and begged the doctors to take her to a hospital. All her pleas were ignored despite her trouble breathing, racing pulse, and purple lips. This were signs showing she was lethargic and ill. Even after the technicians reported her condition to medical staff, she was only given some medication instead of being taken to full care hospital. Had it not been to medical negligence, her death would have been avoided. Currently, there have been 3,362 rehab patient deaths which could have been prevented.

Government Effort

Various measures have been put in place to ensure that the interests of the patients are prioritized in rehab facilities. Addiction centers are supposed to screen the patients before admitting them. Each state has an agency that licenses and regulates rehab centers. Besides, there are also requirements on who should assess the patient’s history and medical condition.

Whether the state agencies have been successful in regulating addiction recovery centers is debatable if the increasing cases against the facilities are anything to go by. Several rehab centers have had to pay thousands and even millions of dollars in compensation for their negligence and malpractice. Some have even been forced to close some of their facilities in an attempt to save their face.

What’s Next?

Despite death cases in some addiction centers, there are others that still handle their patients with dignity. Here are some things you need to do to ensure you don’t become the next victim in these addiction treatment centers;

• Get recommendations from former patients, doctors, or other medical providers.

• Sometimes, the internet may not give all the necessary information.

• Don’t be lured into selecting a rehab facility because of the incentives it offers.

• Be wary of addiction treatment centers that spend so much money on advertisements.

SoCal Edison Sued for Deadly Wildfire, Mudslides

Southern California Edison (SoCal), the City of Ventura, and the regions’ Casitas and Montecito Municipal Water Districts are alleged to blame for one of Southern California’s largest wildfires, and its aftermath – deadly mudslides in Montecito. This is according to two class-action lawsuits brought on behalf of multiple victims, who lost homes, were unable to work, and whose loved ones died.

George Lewis vs. Southern California Edison Company filed December 15, 2017, in Ventura County Superior Court, alleges that during their construction activities in Santa Paula, Calif., SoCal employees failed to “ensure that surrounding trees and vegetation were trimmed and kept at a safe distance.” This negligence, the complaint states, caused the area’s dry vegetation to ignite. Plaintiffs’ attorneys also claim that the electricity provided by the City of Ventura and Casitas Municipal Water District was not adequate to power water pumping stations and fire hydrants.

As a result, the 8,500 firefighters battling what turned out to be the fifth largest fire in California history, were not able to contain the blaze early on. Nearly 100,000 residents in a 17-mile area were forced to evacuate.

The subsequent lawsuit, filed January 12, 2018, In Superior Court of Santa Barbara County, blames SoCal and The Montecito Water District for the Montecito mudslides that buried and closed Highway 101 in much of Santa Barbara County. According to the complaint, the Thomas Fire made the area vulnerable to runoff excesses, as well as erosion debris and mud flows during heavy rains.

The Thomas Fire claimed two lives and destroyed 281,000 acres and 1,000 properties. The Montecito mudslides were far deadlier, killing at least 20 people, destroying 1,000 homes, and damaging thousands more. Cost estimates of the dual disaster, in firefighting efforts, and land and property damage, well exceed $100 million.

Westlake Village Attorneys Robinson & Associates filed both lawsuits, joined for the second by attorney Joseph Liebman, and the law firm of Foley, Bezek, Behle & Curtis, LLP, both of Santa Barbara.

According to Southern California Edison, the California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), additional fire agencies, and the California Public Utilities Commission are investigating. The fire’s official cause has yet to be determined.