FARMINGTON — A local couple has filed a lawsuit in Santa Fe County requesting that a district court judge bar San Juan Regional Rehabilitation Hospital from discharging their paralyzed 18-year-old son.
Parents Lorraine and Martin Begay also allege in the lawsuit that their son, Lydell Begay, was permanently injured as a result of "willful wanton negligence and reckless disregard" by officials at the University of New Mexico Hospital.
A spokeswoman for San Juan Regional Rehabilitation Hospital said the hospital does not comment on legal actions against it.
UNM Hospital could not be reached for comment.
Neither hospital has formally responded to the complaint, which was filed on June 30, according to court records.
Lorraine and Martin Begay's attorney, Turner Branch with Branch Law Firm in Albuquerque, could not be reached for comment.
According to the complaint, Lydell Begay was transported by helicopter from Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock to Albuquerque on March 13 to seek emergency care and treatment at UNM Hospital.
The complaint alleges hospital staff failed to diagnose Lydell Begay's blocked arteries, which could be seen by X-ray, CT scan or MRI. He was also placed in a general ward, instead of the emergency care unit, and the hospital waited two days before performing tests to properly treat him, the lawsuit states.
If Lydell Begay was properly diagnosed and he was provided proper treatment, including blood-thinning medications, his injuries would be less severe, the lawsuit says.
According to the lawsuit, Lydell Begay is permanently paralyzed and unable to speak. He will require rehabilitation and medical care for the rest of his life and is unable to complete his high school education.
Begay is receiving treatment at San Juan Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, according to the complaint. The couple is requesting that Judge Raymond Ortiz issue a temporary restraining order barring the hospital from discharging their son.
"Lydell Begay would be forced to return to his home that provides shelter for eight people and is merely 864 square feet," the request states. "The home has no shower, no water drainage system, no operable bathroom, no air conditioner and it is not wheelchair accessible."
Discharging Begay will result in irreparable and imminent harm to him, the lawsuit states.