The daughter of a woman who died last year has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against San Mateo County, claiming that negligence on the part of staff at the county-run hospital caused the woman's death.
Penny Louise Prevezich died in November 2008 after she was transported from a Menlo Park mental health facility to the San Mateo Medical Center, according to the lawsuit.
The suit, filed by Prevezich's daughter Nicole Blincoe, claims staff at the medical center left Prevezich in a waiting area unattended for about 90 minutes; at some point she stopped breathing and no longer had a pulse.
The county "carelessly and negligently managed the care of" Prevezich and "failed to monitor and supervise her resulting in her death," according to the lawsuit, filed Nov. 17, which seeks unspecified damages from the county.
Deputy County Counsel Glenn Levy declined to comment, saying the county has not yet been served with the suit. Lawsuits generally must be served within 60 days.
Prevezich, 57, was a resident of Menlo Park, according to the county coroner's office. Senior Deputy Coroner Michelle Rippy said Prevezich's cause of death is listed as "multiple drug intoxication," though no further details were available.
Blincoe's attorney, Frank Liuzzi, could not be reached for comment.
Prevezich was a patient at Transitions, a mental health program on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs campus in Menlo Park, on Nov. 28, 2008, when she requested to be transferred to another facility, the lawsuit states.
At about 9 p.m., the county's Mental Health Assessment and Referral Team took her to the medical center to await transfer to another facility, according to the lawsuit.
On the way to the medical center, a paramedic noted that Prevezich denied being suicidal and did not exhibit suicidal behavior, the lawsuit states. Though the suit does not specify what Prevezich was being treated for, it says her "psychiatric history was well-known to the staff" at the county's medical center.
Prevezich arrived at the medical center's Psychiatric Emergency Services department at about 10 p.m. and a nurse seated her in the waiting area, according to the lawsuit.
"She was not checked again until approximately 90 minutes later when she was found slouched over without a pulse and not breathing as she was in cardiac arrest," the lawsuit states. She was pronounced dead at 12:02 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2008, according to the suit.
The county's negligence left Blincoe "deprived of a kind and loving mother," according to the lawsuit.
A case management conference has been scheduled for March 30, 2010.
E-mail Shaun Bishop at email@example.com.