Elder Abuse Complaint Filed Against Extendicare
The sister of a Washington woman, whose tracheal tube clogged with mucous causing oxygen loss and brain damage while she was a resident of Extendicare’s Aldercrest Health & Rehabilitation Center in Edmonds, Wash., has filed suit against three wholly owned United States-based subsidiaries of Canadian Extendicare REIT. Norene McPherson’s 49-year-old sister, Lea Ann, died a few months after the incident.
The action is being taken after a federal district court judge dismissed a class action lawsuit filed against Extendicare Health Services, Inc.; Extendicare Homes, Inc.; and Fir Lane Terrace Convalescent Hospital and 15 Washington Extendicare facilities, (collectively referred to as Extendicare), on a procedural basis as opposed to allowing the jury to rule on the actual merits of the class action complaint.
“It is important to note that the court did not rule that the conduct alleged in the class action was not occurring, but rather simply that is could not be redressed via the class action mechanism,” says Seattle elder abuse lawyer Kevin Coluccio of Stritmatter, Kessler, Whelan, Coluccio. “But we will seek justice for Lea Ann in the courts of Washington State.”
Norene McPherson, as the Personal Representative for the Estate of Lea Ann Steele v. Extendicare Health Services, Inc.; Extendicare Homes, Inc.; and Aldercrest Health & Rehabilitation (Case # 09-2-03914-1), will be heard in Snohomish County Superior Court and not be subject to the same procedural hurdles that a class action complaint must meet in Federal court.
“Just as the rules of evidence are different in criminal and civil courts, which allowed for OJ Simpson’s civil conviction of killing Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, the rules of evidence differ between Federal and State courts,” explains Long Beach, Calif., elder abuse attorney Stephen M. Garcia of Garicia & Artigliere and co-counsel. “We believe that in Ms. Steele’s case the truth of the allegations against Extendicare will come out and Extendicare will be brought to justice.”
According to a recent press release by Extendicare REIT (TSX: EXE.UN), it has 266 senior care facilities in North America with approximately 30,000 beds.
Extendicare’s problems seem to range across the country.
A July 27, 2008 article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that Extendicare owns 26 nursing homes in Wisconsin. Twenty of them have been cited for at least one serious care violation in the past three years.
The article also reports that in 2005, Extendicare paid $2.3 million to Wisconsin in a civil settlement over serious nursing home violations arising from the 2003 death of a resident. Its Sun Prairie home, Willows Nursing & Rehabilitation, was cited for poor care after two residents died. Willows paid $198,045 in state and federal fines; it also is on the federal list of the worst homes in the country.
A March 2009 Canadian National Union newsletter article reported that a Florida jury awarded $20 million in damages against Extendicare in 2000 after a nursing home resident was found to be malnourished, dehydrated and had developed severe pressure sores. Testimony revealed the center operated short-staffed and employees did not have enough time to provide the everyday tasks the resident needed.
Soo.Today.com reported in March 2009 Extendicare’s Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario, Canada) facility was closed to visitors after 34 of the long-term care facility’s 150 residents came down with a gastrointestinal illness.
Nevertheless, a July 12, 2007 article in the Journal of Business reported that Extendicare had received preliminary state approval to build a 120-bed facility on the South Hill in Spokane. The article said that the facility is expected to open in July 2009.
For information, contact Stephen M. Garcia at Garicia & Artigliere, (800) 328-2630.