Embattled Nursing Home Could Have Done More to Prevent Relative's Death: National City Family

Eighteen residents have died at the Reo Vista Healthcare facility

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For the third time in less than a week, a distraught family has come forward with concerns over how their loved one was treated at the Reo Vista Healthcare nursing facility in South Bay.

Juan Encarnacion Estrada, 69, died July 7 at Scripps Hospital, in Chula Vista, according to his family. Estrada, who suffered from diabetes and had two amputated legs, was a resident at the Reo Vista Healthcare nursing facility, in Paradise Hills, since last year.

According to the Estrada family, the family patriarch was tested twice for COVID beginning in May. Both tests came back negative.

But on June 30, Estrada told family members he was having trouble breathing. His daughters saw that as a clear symptom of COVID and felt his symptoms should have been communicated to the family.

“It feels like they were going to let him pass peacefully while my dad was suffering,” Ana Estrada said.

The family says it demanded that Juan Estrada be taken to the hospital, where he immediately tested positive for COVID.

“Come on, being tested a few days before, and he’s negative, yet the hospital tests him the same day and he’s positive? That doesn’t make sense,” said Maricela Reynoso, Estrada’s daughter.

“He was there to recover, not to die,” said Alejandra Estrada, another daughter.

A representative for Reo Vista said that recovery rates have improved at Reo Vista in recent weeks; however, 18 residents have died (eight of them in area hospitals) since the outbreak began.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 118 residents have tested positive. Currently, 63 residents have recovered (nine more than last week), three residents are hospitalized (three fewer than last week). There are 17 residents that remain isolated (11 fewer than last week).

Through a representative, Reo Vista Healthcare administrator Curtis White released this statement:

We cannot discuss any specifics surrounding the care of any resident per HIPAA regulations. We can say that clear protocols from the California Department of Public Health and County Health & Human Services exist that dictate when families are notified about a change in their loved one’s health status. These agencies also laid out clear guidelines for when a COVID-positive resident must be moved to the hospital. Our dedicated team of healthcare practitioners understands and follows those directives. We do so not only as trained professionals but also as ones with families of our own. 

Since the pandemic began, we have made it a priority to promptly communicate with residents’ families and responsible parties, and our staff has made every effort to keep loved ones informed. We continue to do whatever is necessary to care for every resident and [are] grateful for our team’s service and sacrifice.

Estrada’s wife said -- had officials at Reo Vista communicated information about her husband’s deteriorating health -- he could have been taken to the hospital earlier and his death could have potentially been prevented.

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