San Diego physician charged with involuntary manslaughter in jail loss of life

San Diego physician charged with involuntary manslaughter in jail loss of life

A physician accused of neglecting a critically unwell lady incarcerated in a San Diego County jail was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter.

Dr. Friederike Von Lintig, 57, pleaded not responsible in reference to the loss of life of Elisa Serna, 24, on the Las Colinas ladies’s jail in Santee. Von Lintig, who labored for the jail below a contract with Coastal Hospitalist Medical Associates, was the doctor on obligation when Serna died Nov. 11, 2019.

Serna had been booked 5 days earlier on suspicion of drug possession. Her household stated she had struggled with heroin habit however was making an attempt to drag her life collectively.

Michael Serna described his daughter as a “sensible, stunning woman.”

“She died in a really inhumane means,” he stated. “No person ought to die in such a fashion.”

Four people wearing memorial T-shirts with a woman's image on them

Elisa Serna’s relations — from left, Star Serna, Michael Serna, Paloma Serna and Deana Serna — communicate to the media on the El Cajon courthouse on Wednesday.

(Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Within the household’s lawsuit towards San Diego County, the Sernas argue that Von Lintig and nurse Danalee Pascua, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter in Elisa Serna’s loss of life final November, ignored apparent indicators that the lady was severely unwell.

In a word in Serna’s medical chart a number of hours earlier than her loss of life, quoted within the lawsuit, Von Lintig accused the lady of faking her sickness, writing, “fainting spell: doubt true seizure and suspect second achieve.”

“Secondary achieve” is utilized in drugs to check with sufferers who’re suspected of creating up signs for consideration or another profit.

“She based mostly this on nothing,” the lawsuit says. “Von Lintig took no vitals and carried out no examination. She ran no blood checks.”

That night at round 7 p.m., Pascua and a deputy witnessed Serna have a seizure and fall to the ground, hitting her head on the cell wall.

Pascua and the deputy left Serna in her cell and didn’t summon assist.

“For an hour, nobody got here to the cell,” the lawsuit says. “Throughout this time, Elisa will be seen on the video displays dying and urinating on herself. … Nobody monitored Elisa even supposing she had been positioned within the medical statement unit. Elisa Serna died on the ground of her jail cell.”

No prices have been filed towards the deputy, however in February 2021, the Residents’ Regulation Enforcement Assessment Board, which gives oversight of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Division, discovered that the deputy who accompanied the nurse violated division coverage by failing to acknowledge and reply to Serna’s medical wants.

Serna was certainly one of 16 individuals who died in San Diego jail custody in 2019. Eighteen have died up to now this yr, tying 2021’s file quantity; a nineteenth was granted a compassionate launch from custody hours earlier than he died this yr within the hospital.

The Sheriff’s Division and the county have been grappling with easy methods to tackle the spate of deaths. A harshly important state audit launched this yr discovered that San Diego County had the very best jail mortality fee amongst giant California counties.

The district legal professional’s workplace determined to file prices towards Von Lintig after the state medical board had an professional overview the case, stated Deputy Dist. Atty. John Dunlap. He stated he couldn’t elaborate on these findings.

“We cost individuals once we imagine we will show crimes past an inexpensive doubt,” he stated.

The medical board’s web site exhibits that Von Lintig remains to be licensed to apply drugs in California and has no historical past of self-discipline.

In a press release, the Sheriff’s Division stated it supported the district legal professional’s resolution to file prices towards Von Lintig.

“The Sheriff’s Division is dedicated to offering compassionate medical companies for the protection, well being and well-being of everybody entrusted in our care,” the assertion stated. “We have now and can proceed to comply with strict protocols for investigating and responding to allegations of misconduct.”

Von Lintig didn’t communicate on the listening to past saying that she understood the costs. Afterward, upon noticing the Serna household within the courtroom, she supplied a delicate smile and wave.

She faces as much as 4 years in jail if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Serna relations stated they’ve gotten to know at the very least eight different households who’ve not too long ago misplaced a liked one in a San Diego jail. Paloma Serna, Elisa’s mom, stated the households have turn into a supply of assist for one another.

“It will get my thoughts off of my very own case,” she stated. “I’m glad we will be a part of different individuals’s lives.”

Pascua’s preliminary listening to is scheduled for Thursday. A preliminary listening to for Von Lintig is about for March 29, 2023.

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