Walton Law Firm represented the interests of the family of M.E. (confidential), and elderly woman who suffered from dementia and needed the help with her activities of daily living. She was admitted to a small 12-bed San Diego area assisted living facility in April of 2017. Upon admission, M.E. did not have any bedsores.
M.E’s children began to notice that their mother was never out of her bed when they would visit (which was often). Worse, the family would find M.E. alone in her room with all of the lights turned out, even in the middle of the day. The facility’s administrator first lied to the family, telling the children that their mother was helped out of bed every day. Later, she testified in a deposition that M.E. had experienced a “health crisis” during that time frame and needed to stay in bed (even though the family was unaware of any crisis).
As a result of being left in bed, M.E. developed a bedsore on her coccyx. Within a month, the sore was sized as a Stage III, which disqualified M.E. for assisted living care, and required the facility to discharge her or contact the state for permission to retain her with proper care. Instead of taking action, the administrator actively discouraged the family from taking appropriate action with regard to their mother’s health.
By June 10, 2018, the family insisted that a wound care specialist should be brought into the assisted living facility immediately. When a wound care nurse finally saw M.E. she felt was in danger and communicated the seriousness of the wounds, and the situation, to the administrator, stating that M.E. needed to be sent to the hospital.
Despite being expressly told by the nurse that M.E. needed a higher level of care, the administrator still refused to transfer her out of the facility. Two days after her first visit the wound care nurse returned and testified, she was “disgusted” and “horrified” to find M.E. still in the facility. With no apparent alternatives, on June 15, 2018 M.E’s family called an ambulance to have their mom sent to the hospital, a move that the administrator continued to resist.
At Scripps Hospital, M.E. was found to have a Stage IV bedsore on her coccyx and several other bedsores. She was discharged from Scripps into a skilled nursing facility, but her health precipitously declined. On July 21, 2018, M.E. died, with her bedsore being listed as a contributing factor to her death.
After the death, the California Department of Social Services investigated the care to M.E. at the assisted living facility and found wrongdoing, ultimately issuing multiple Class “A” citations against the facility.
Walton Law Firm sued the facility and the administrator and was able to resolve the case for more than $500,000.00.