respiratory therapist at the hospital, confessed and later recanted to
killing up to 50 terminally ill patients.
The medical malpractice and wrongful death case has been set for a
Feb. 12 trial.
Allowing the case to continue could pave the way for more lawsuits
against Saldivar, said Santa Ana attorney Chris Nicoll. Nicoll is
representing the Glendale area family of John Schwartz, who died in May
1993 while a patient at the hospital.
Hospital attorney Chris Boman unsuccessfully argued the three-year
statute of limitations on filing the lawsuit against the hospital had
expired. That time limit on lawsuits doesn't apply if fraud or
concealment is involved, which, Nicoll said, is the case since hospital
officials failed to tell the family Schwartz was found alive on the floor
out of his restraints earlier on the day he died.
"There is not a more clear case of intentional concealment. We have at
least medical malpractice," Nicoll said in court.
West said there seemed to be concealment on the part of the hospital,
since the family was not notified thatSchwartz was found on the floor. He
added, however, there may be limitations on what can be entered into
Nicoll said afterward that other courts may look at West's ruling to
determine if more cases can continue. Three other lawsuits have been
filed against Saldivar so far alleging he was responsible for deaths.
A one-year statute of limitations is in place for lawsuits against
medical care workers unless there is concealment, Nicoll said.
Goldberg unsuccessfully argued that the statute of limitations had
expired and said there was no proof that Saldivar injured Schwartz.
"There is no claim that he was smothered or injected by Saldivar,"
Goldberg said. "There is no claim he came in the room and pushed him out
of bed and killed him."
Nicoll admitted he has no proof Saldivar killed Schwartz and is
awaiting the results of an autopsy report. Glendale Police have yet to
release the report on 20 bodies it exhumed as part of the investigation.
George Loayza of Sunland, the son of Eagle Rock resident Felicia
Loayza, whose body was one exhumed, said Friday a police detective told
him this week that investigators are still awaiting toxicology reports
that show whether muscle relaxants were used by Saldivar to kill
A detective said in January the tests were being analyzed in Europe,
but Loayza said another officer told him that was not correct.
"They don't have the results from the lab, and they are still working
to find the results," Loayza said.