Attorney General Kamala Harris recently succeeded in the criminal prosecution of a hospital administrator in Bakersfield, California for conduct by a lower ranked employee which led to the death of three elderly patients. This ground-breaking case has strengthened California Elder Abuse laws which are already some of the strongest in the United States.
The Attorney General’s case focused on Pamela Ott, a former hospital administrator of the Kern Valley Health District in Bakersfield who oversaw Director of Nursing, Gwen Hughes and Medical Director, Dr. Hoshang Pormir. Court records confirm that Hughes administered psychotropic medications to elderly residents in order to chemically restrain them for staff convenience. Her conduct resulted in the needless deaths of three patients. The charges further provided evidence that under Ott’s supervision, Dr. Pormir failed to conduct examinations of patients or monitor their reactions to medications.
Ott disregarded complaints from staff members and directed staff to comply with Hughes’ instructions. A Department of Public Health investigation later found that 23 residents at Kern Valley Health District in Bakersfield suffered adverse reactions as a result of the chemical restraints and unnecessary medications given under Ott’s supervision. Attorney General Harris stated, “Ott neglected her responsibility to monitor the practices of her employees and in doing so, she endangered the health and well-being of vulnerable residents”.
Ott will now face three years formal probation, 300 hours of volunteer service, and restitution pending the conclusion of civil lawsuits. She is also required to comply with all orders from the Registered Nursing Board, which will investigate her conduct independently.
The Evans Law Firm works diligently to ensure that California’s Elder Abuse laws protect the elder community. If you or a loved one have been the victim of elder abuse, contact the Evans Law Firm at 415-441-8669 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a free and confidential consultation.