County Coroner Rules that Guido's Employee Hemorrhaged to Death
• Major Lung Infection Combined with Aftereffects of Carlos Ivan Rodas' Prior Case of Tuberculosis Proved Fatal
BY ANNE SOBLE
Last week, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner issued a statement that the cause of death for Carlos Ivan Rodas, the 32-year-old Guido's kitchen employee who collapsed in a pool of blood outside the restaurant on March 18, was determined to be "hemorrhage from invasive pulmonary aspergillosis and sequelae of cavitary tuberculosis (treated)."
Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is a serious lung infection by the pervasive aspergillosis fungus that can affect any human organ. Medical descriptions note that people with weakened lungs and compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to this kind of infection, which is said to not be contagious.
Sequelae of tuberculosis are physical consequences or side effects of Rodas having had the disease, which the DOC report indicates had been successfully treated. In Rodas' case, there was extensive lung scarring from the tuberculosis in which the fungus could readily take hold.
Dr. David Dassey, the deputy chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Acute Communicable Disease Control (ACDC) Unit, said Rodas died when a blood vessel burst and filled his lungs with blood that hemorrhaged so dramatically that those who cursorily looked at his body or just saw the large quantity of blood appeared to think the man might have been shot or brutally assaulted.
As a result, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department personnel first issued media reports to the effect that Rodas was shot, which led to a "murder in Malibu " media maelstrom.
This initial report then was inexplicably changed to a scenario that Rodas had been severely beaten by multiple assailants. Both of these LASD statements were issued before anyone actually inspected the man's body.
Not until the DOC examined the remains were these errors corrected and the issue of possible medical causation given consideration. The initial LASD confusion prompted a rebuke by City of Malibu officials and no small amount of embarrassment for the department, which sent representatives to apologize at a subsequent city council meeting.
The DOC deferred a ruling on the cause of Rodas' death for over three months while intensive lab work and neuropathological analysis was being conducted, including brain tissue analysis.
The Guido's employee's manner of death is technically categorized as natural because, as the report states, "No trauma was noted and foul play is not suspected."
Dassey said DOC and ACDC have a standing arrangement that all "unusual deaths" are flagged and referred to his unit, to which Rodas' tuberculosis had already been reported—a standard public health procedure. The epidemiologist said Rodas had been treated for the disease and cleared before he became employed at Guido's.
The ACDC deputy chief indicated Rodas' TB was no longer active and his sputum tests were negative when he began working in the restaurant kitchen, even if his medical treatment was still being continued as part of a follow-up program.
Dassey said tuberculosis, an airborne virus, "requires intimate contact, such as being a member of the same household" for transmission.
He stressed there "never was a contagion issue" with Rodas while he worked at Guido's. Rodas' post-disease tests continued to be negative, as was post-mortem cultures for the disease.
The DOC statement also noted that no prescription or illicit drugs were detected in Rodas' system at the time of his death.
The department anticipates that the final coroner's report will be available for release within two weeks. The News will follow up with any additional information when the final report becomes available.