pexels-anna-shvets-3683036San Francisco Nonprofit HealthRight 360 Faces Investigation After Two People Fatally Overdosed At Treatment Facility It Runs 

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (July 3, 2024) – San Francisco nonprofit HealthRight 360 is facing a state investigation after two people died from an overdose at a facility that it runs.

The two deaths took place at its residential treatment program Walden House. The San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report the deaths and the subsequent investigation.

This incident comes as San Francisco has continued to struggle with a sharp rise in fentanyl deaths. Around 806 people are suspected to have died from opioid overdoses last year.

HealthRight 360 has had contracts with San Francisco that were worth roughly $200 million in 2023. A full investigation into the two deaths remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For Overdose Deaths At Treatment Facilities

Deaths due to opioids remain alarmingly common, both in San Francisco and across the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Opioid-involved overdose deaths rose from 49,860 in 2019 to 81,806 in 2022.” People who were recently released from a jail or prison tend to be at the greatest risk.  There are a number of signs that healthcare providers should look for that can indicate that a person is going through an overdose.

  • Unresponsiveness: A person may be unconscious or difficult to wake up.
  • Shallow or Slow Breathing: Breathing may be slow or otherwise irregular.
  • Pinpoint Pupils: A person may display pinpoint pupils.
  • Slow Heartbeat: It is common for people going through an overdose to have a slow, erratic, or absent heartbeat.

Depending on the facts of any case, a treatment facility could be liable for the death of a patient. Treatment centers have a legal obligation to provide patients with adequate care designed to reduce the risk of overdose deaths. When staff members of these facilities fail to provide adequate care, the rehab facility can be held vicariously liable. California has strict laws to protect patients living in 24-hour rehab centers. Many of these laws are contained within the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. There are many different types of negligence that can occur in rehab facilities.

  • Inadequate Patient Evaluation: When a patient is checked into rehab, staff must work to fully understand their state and situation. Failure to do this can lead to dangerous situations and subpar care.
  • Inadequate Supervision: Rehab patients are in a vulnerable state, and many may be suicidal. Staff must properly supervise all patients to ensure their safety.
  • Unfit or Untrained Staff: Rehab facilities must have staff that are properly trained to perform their job duties. When staff are unfit or untrained, they can make numerous mistakes that may have fatal consequences.

Ensuring that patients are safe requires that rehab facilities take a holistic approach that emphasizes compassion and best practices. But far too often, this does not take place. These facilities may become preoccupied with earning as much as possible at the expense of safety. It is important that the people who go through rehab understand that they do have rights. In particular, the family of any person who died in a rehab facility may be able to seek some measure of accountability through a wrongful death claim.

Investigating Overdose Deaths At Treatment Facilities

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who died at the Walden House treatment program operated by HealthRight 360. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong. It is our sincere hope that measures are taken to prevent similar tragedies.

Do you need more information about a death at a California rehab facility? Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you. We care deeply that victims of neglect are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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