Fresno VA Hospital Investigation: Woman Claims Staff Killed Her Father
By Erik Rosales
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) — A Dinuba woman claims her father, a Korean War Veteran would be alive today had he not been admitted into Fresno's VA Hospital.Esther Garcia says doctors wanted to run some tests because of her dad's ailing foot.Phillip Perez beat colon cancer in 1998 and even kidney cancer in 2013.But an infection in his toe caused him to be admitted to the hospital.A place where his daughter says her father's unique medical history and fragile condition were ignored. A place he died two days later.Garcia says, "I can't even explain the guilt I feel. I should have been able to leave him there and they should have taken care of him. But within two days he was already dead."Garcia claims staff at the hospital ignored her dad's special medical needs, even after she says she told staff about them.She says her father needed daily breathing treatments, which she says he did not receive.Garcia says he had to be fed through a tube. She says Perez couldn't eat solid food or drink water through his mouth. She says he had a previous tracheotomy and damage to his esophagus while on a respirator.Yet when she walked into the room, a day before her dad died she says she found water.She also claims they had also removed a tray of food. She adds, they were giving his pills by mouth.Garcia says if he drank water his lungs would fill with fluid and he would have trouble breathing. She says she found out her father had aspirated the day he died.Garcia says she also warned staff her dad was sensitive to insulin and could not handle injections.However, she has medical records that showed her dad received injectable insulin anyway.Garcia says, "They don't want to be told what to do. Because we tell what to do, it's like we don't know what we are talking about. They are doctors they are the nurses they know their job."So what do administrators with the VA Central California Healthcare system have to say about this case? KMPH Fox 26 News Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales spoke to the Chief of Fresno's VA Medical Center who said he will not go on camera to talk about this case. However he did say the case was reviewed by an internal review committee, and any appropriate action that needed to be taken was taken. However, he would not disclose what those actions were.Meanwhile, Garcia says if only the staff had listened to her she believes her dad would be here today.Garcia says, "My dad would be alive, he would be recovering and he would be back."Garcia adds the VA Medical Center performed an autopsy. However she claims it was without her knowledge or permission that they removed her father's brain, left kidney and heart.She says it was never explained to her in the paperwork, staff had her sign.Garcia says the only way she found out was when the funeral director notified her the organs were missing.She demanded them back and they were returned.Garcia says she is planning to file paperwork demanding the U.S. Attorney General investigate the case and the actions at the Fresno VA Medical Center.We will stay on top of this case and bring you any updates.
KMPH Fox 26 is the Central Valley's news leader, covering Fresno, California and the surrounding area, including Clovis, Madera, Hanford, Visalia, Biola, Kerman, Tranquility, San Joaquin, Centua Creek, Coalinga, Avenal, Lemoore, Tulare, Selma, Caruthers, Tollhouse, Three Rivers, Porterville, and Merced.