Articles Posted in Negligent Supervision

According to a new lawsuit, two federal prison guards in Brooklyn allowed a gang member to attack a fellow inmate causing horrific damage. The injured inmate, Rafael Lopez, alleges in his new lawsuit that the Metropolitan Detention Center knew that Douglas Mendoza was a disturbed person and affiliated with the notoriously violent MS-13 gang.

prison-assaultThe alleged attack took place in September 2016 when Lopez was watching a baseball game in the community room of the Sunset Park prison. Mendoza, who is in prison for murder, then changed the channel. According to Lopez, this sophomoric power play was meant to increase Mendoza’s status among his fellow gang members. After a brief argument, Lopez said that everyone calmed down until Mendoza returned with a sock filled with padlocks. Mendoza then brutally battered Lopez, all within full view of two security guards. Refusing to intervene, a riot squad eventually stopped the bludgeoning. Lopez was left with broken ribs and a lacerated kidney. Unable to protect him from Mendoza, the prison put Lopez in “special housing” for three months before transferring him to another federal jail.  Continue reading

Disgraced New York City Councilman Ruben Wills has sued the City of New York over his treatment while incarcerated on Riker’s Island. According to the former politician, his four-day stint at Rikers caused him immense pain and resulted in his need for a wheelchair. Wills is now trying to hold the Department of Corrections and the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs medical operations at Rikers, liable for the damages he says were caused by their neglect.

The former councilman was convicted of stealing over $33,000 campaign funds and grants. Wills was originally indicted on multiple fraud and larceny charges in 2014. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that Wills spent government grant money meant for charities at two department stores. Less than a year later, Wills was arrested again on separate charges relating to his campaign. According to the Conflict of Interest Board filings, Wills did not properly disclose his financial dealings.

After refusing a plea deal, Wills was eventually convicted in 2016. The Queens judge who presided over his case immediately expelled him from City Council and sentenced him to two to six years for his crime. Continue reading

The family of Angel Rivera is suing a Bronx hospital after he was ignored in the ER waiting room only to slip into a coma that he never woke up from.

In 2014, the 53-year-old Rivera went to Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx after being punched in the head during a fight with a friend. After going through triage, where nurses inspected his injuries, Lincoln Hospital staff then told Rivera to return to the waiting room for his name to be called. The hospital states that it called Rivera’s name within an hour of examining him in the triage room.

hospital-13-1518181-300x200At this point, Rivera had already become unconscious and could not respond. The hospital staff apparently just assumed he had left the hospital in his dire state. A note in his medical chart states that he had left the hospital against medical advice, despite video evidence showing Rivera in the exact same seat for the entire ordeal. Continue reading

A New York doctor has been charged with 29 counts of negligence, fraud and medical malpractice for his treatment of eight patients. Doctor Ayman Shahine, famous for his plastic surgery on reality TV star Renee Graziano, is accused of everything from talking on his phone during surgery to falsifying medical records and violating New York state laws. Shahine has been sued for medical malpractice 15 times since 2013.doc-on-phone-300x172

Dr. Shahine, originally a gynecologist (in New York any doctor can perform cosmetic surgeries – even without a nurse or anesthesiologist), is a grossly incompetent doctor according to state authorities. In one case, Dr. Shaine allegedly performed liposuction on a patient before taking her blood pressure or performing a pregnancy test. The patient, it turned out, was actually pregnant at the time and, according to the authorities, the surgery should not have been performed on a pregnant woman. Continue reading

On August 3, 2009, Narie Balkaran drowned at Jones Beach State Park on Long Island after being caught in a rip tide that pulled him into the ocean. Because Jones Beach State Park is a public park, Balkaran’s family sued the State of New York – stating that the State of New York should be held responsible for the death of Balkaran for two reasons – first, because it failed to warn the beachgoers of the rip tide and alternatively, because it failed to close down the beach during the rip tide. The Court dismissed these arguments, stating that the State of New York only had a duty to beachgoers of “general supervision” and that the State was not responsible for warning swimmers of threats “arising from the existence of natural, transitory conditions of the ocean floor” when the lifeguards did not actually know of the rip tide existence at the time of Balkaran’s death.

The Court agreed with Balkaran’s family that State of New York has some responsibility for beachgoers on a public beach. The Court said that the State must act “as a reasonable person” in maintaining its property and keeping it safe for the public. According to the Court, this includes both general maintenance of public beach and general supervision of the beach. The Court then found that the State of New York satisfied this obligation by having a sufficient number of lifeguards (who were both “experienced and competent”), and that the lifeguards reacted to the situation by following proper procedures.

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A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found voice activation technology in cars to be distracting and that it takes drivers 27 seconds to regain full alertness after making a command.  For example, a car going 25 mph can travel the length of three football fields before the driver’s brain fully refocuses on driving after use of this technology. One of the researchers compared the use of these systems to balancing a checkbook while driving, something no one would do. Researcher and professor at the University of Utah, David Strayer, stated once a person shifts their attention to interacting with the device they stop scanning the road and do not anticipate hazards or things in their way.

573 adult drivers were surveyed for the study in Washington, D.C. and concluded that hands-free driving distracts one-third of drivers even with their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Seven out of 10 surveyors believed they were only distracted for 10 seconds after using an in-vehicle device to dial a phone number or change the radio station. Meanwhile, 88% said they believe other drivers are “very distracted or somewhat distracted” while using these devices. AAA spokesman, John B. Townsend stated that everyone believes they are the exception, exaggerating our ability to handle these technologies and loathing the thought of other people using it. Continue reading

Angelita Williamson, a surgical nurse aide in East Harlem, has been accused of silencing an elderly patient’s life-support alarm overnight in order to get some rest. On January 13, 2015 Williamson was assigned the task of a “one-to-one observation” in which she would monitor the patient’s ventilator overnight to ensure it was working. Colleagues claim they caught the surgical aide sleeping several times during the night with the curtain to the room drawn.

An administrative hearing was held in which three members of the hospital staff attested to Williamson’s sleeping. One person saw her wrapped in a blanket asleep with the lights off and another said she had to shake and hit her to wake her up. The third person stated he entered the room before dawn and saw the patient’s oxygen alarm going off, but the sound had been muted.  Despite the events, the patient was unharmed. Continue reading

On May 6, 2016 six rallies were held throughout the state of New York by the Nurses Association to gain support for a bill that will create a standard for nurse to patient ratios. The bill, called Safe Staffing for Quality Care, calls for higher levels of staff at hospitals in an effort to provide better care for patients. The bill was introduced to the Assembly by Aileen Gunther, Assemblywoman of Forestburgh in Orange County. Gunther stated that the issue of safe staffing is very important to her as she is the only registered nurse in the Assembly; she also speaks with nurses who believe this bill would have a significant positive impact by improving patient outcomes, reducing nurse injuries and saving hospitals money.

If the bill were put into legislation, hospitals and nursing homes would be required to have nurse-to-patient ratios, develop minimum staffing requirements and staffing plans that would be submitted to the state Department of Health yearly as a pre-requisite for license renewal. Nurses will have the option of refusing work if proper staffing were not in place.  The nurse to patient ratio would vary depending on each situation, for example, one nurse to an operating room might be sufficient but one nurse to six patients might be sufficient in a well-baby nursing unit. Public access to staffing plans would also be required and civil penalties will be given if the plans are violated.

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NYU Langone Medical Center was investigated by the state after a patient caught fire during surgery; the facility was cited due to lapses in safety procedures and communication.  The fire took place in December 2014 when a medical instrument accidentally reacted with the patient’s oxygen and sparked a fire. The Department of Health inspected the hospital and declared an “immediate jeopardy” situation due to the gaps in safety procedures and communication.  The New York Post was able to obtain the report on the incident through a Freedom of Information Law request,  however the report was heavily redacted.

The name of the patient, nature of surgery, and type of instrument that caused the fire were not revealed in the report, making it unclear as to what injuries the patient sustained. The operating room staff told investigators that a fire-risk assessment was conducted prior to the surgery, but they did not provide any details of the strategies or actions of prevention that were discussed. The operation room fire occurred at the beginning of December, but there was no evidence that the hospital took remedial steps to implement prevention protocols until the after the state inspection later that month.

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On April 1, a young construction worker fell to his death while working on a two-family house in Brooklyn. Alex Santizo, 21, of Queens was working on the second floor of the home when a piece of debris struck him in the head and caused him to tumble through an air shaft from the second floor of the building to the basement. NYPD arrived at the scene around 2:15 pm in response to a call reporting an unconscious person. A witness said that when EMS workers removed him his face was covered in blood; he was taken to the hospital, but could not be saved.

Santizo’s family gathered at the job site on Saturday in remembrance of him. His mother was deeply upset as she left her apartment in Queens, saying she was very sad and was going to be with her family. The family did not have any details about the tragic loss at the time, his mother said she heard it was an accident.

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