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Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Nearly Dies at Nursing and Rehab Center

Garcia & Artigliere

San Bernardino County, Calif. – Lillian Ernestine Metzler, an 88-year-old woman, was admitted to Hanford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center following hip surgery as she suffered from significant medical conditions and required maximum assistance with all daily living activities. Just a few weeks into Metzler’s stay, she was found by family with unexplained changes in behavior and mental status. The Complaint alleges that despite the facility being fully aware of Metzler’s condition, the facility staff had neither fed nor assessed Metzler for change of condition even after having noticed significant changes hours earlier. She was finally transferred via ambulance to an emergency room barely alive and full code. Upon arrival, Metzler was discovered to have a horrific pressure ulcer to the point that it ate away her skin, fascia, and muscle to the bone. Metzler was also diagnosed with medication poisoning, severe dehydration and malnourishment, kidney failure, urinary tract infection, and other injuries.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Hanford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Based on the extent of Lillian’s completely avoidable injuries incurred mere weeks after being admitted, it’s evident Hanford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center never had any intention of providing the services promised to her and were more interested in lining their pockets,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Then, in an unfortunate effort to conceal its failure to provide required care, the facility allegedly lied to Lillian’s family and physician about her worsening conditions and even concealed its misconduct from the Department of Public Health by withholding Lillian’s own medical records from their investigation. Our Complaint asserts that the facility knowingly encouraged these unlawful business practices, including understaffing and hiring underqualified personnel at the expense of residents’ health and safety.”

Allegations and Background

According to the lawsuit, Hanford Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was fully aware that Metzler was a high risk for skin breakdown and the development of pressure sores due to her medical conditions, and therefore required constant attention and care to her skin via interventions, such as turning and repositioning Metzler every two hours, offering pressure-relieving devices, ensuring she was clean and dry at all times, and making sure she was properly hydrated with sufficient nutrition.

It’s alleged that as a direct result of the chronic understaffing at the facility in both number and training, the facility failed to provide Metzler with adequate personal hygiene and instead repeatedly left her laying in her own feces and urine for extended and unacceptable periods of time, and failed to react in a timely manner to her emergent conditions. Indeed, the facility was notified by Metzler’s family the week of admission that her call light was continuously left unanswered and that she was constantly soiled and unchanged, left unturned lying on her back and not provided food she could eat. What resulted were entirely preventable injuries had there been sufficient staff on duty to actually implement the protections required by the facility’s own Plan of Care and physician orders and assessments. It’s apparent the facility purposefully ignored Metzler’s needs and wrongfully withheld required services.


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