LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A mother is looking for answers after her son, who spent his life in a coma, was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.
Guillermo Serrano Jr. was once an outgoing child with endless energy, but prior to his third birthday, he nearly drowned in a swimming pool, sending him into a lifelong coma. He was unable to move and had very little brain activity.
“It’s hard because you know the way he was before and all of a sudden there’s somebody just laying there,” Yolando Serrano, the boy’s mother, said.
In 1991, Mrs. Serrano entered her son into the Lantern Developmental Center in Pomona.
“I thought it was a nice place. They talk to you real sweet, they promise you the world, you know, what a mother wants to hear,” she said.
But as years passed, Mrs. Serrano said the hospital staff forgot to tell her things, like a finger infection that turned to gangrene.
“Back then, yes you have your doubts and you say why wouldn’t they tell me, but you still want to believe they made a mistake,” she said.
Only there was no mistaking what happened next.
CBS2 and KCAL9’s Nicole Gonzales obtained medical records which show that Serrano’s son was diagnosed with condyloma acuminata, more commonly known as genital warts, in 2006.
Mrs. Serrano claims the Lanterman Developmental Center, where her son had been staying since 1991, allegedly told her it was simply a diaper rash. Early this year, she finally got the medical records and the diagnosis.
“You think you have everything under control. You think you’re the best mother in the world, and something like that happens and it makes you feel like, worthless,” she said.
A patient advocate for Serrano has filed a report with the state-run police unit at Lanterman alleging someone sexually abused her son.
Serrano’s son did go to other area hospitals for treatment on occasion.
Last week, Serrano transferred her son to a West Covina hospice to spend his final days. He died June 6.
The Lanterman facility and the agencies involved all declined comment, citing patient privacy, despite the fact that Mrs. Serrano signed a waiver saying those agencies could discuss the case. Officers dealing with the investigation also declined to comment.