Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Requires Multiple Hospitalizations
Glendora, Calif. — Rosario Ortega, a 92-year-old woman, was admitted to Arbor Glen Care Center suffering from significant medical conditions, which rendered her particularly susceptible to falls, pressure sores, malnutrition, dehydration, hypocalcemia and corresponding injuries. It’s alleged that rather than providing required care to address the very conditions Ortega was transferred to the facility for, over the course of her residency, the facility utterly ignored her needs on a systematic basis. Consequently, shortly following admission to the facility, Ortega suffered a significant and rapid decline, unnecessarily requiring multiple prolonged hospitalizations. Specifically, Ortega was treated for a knee fracture caused by a preventable fall, hand contracture caused by unaddressed and untreated hypocalcemia, malnutrition, dehydration, a severe pressure ulcer on her coccyx area, as well as other injuries. Moreover, the lawsuit asserts that the facility fraudulently concealed one of Ortega’s falls and even accused Ortega of fabricating the incident.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Arbor Glen Care Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“It’s our position that Arbor Glen Care Center knew that it suffered from understaffing, lack of training, failure to allot sufficient economic resources and unfitness of staff in capacity and competency, and was aware this accumulated and consistent negligence would and did lead to residents’ injuries, including Rosario,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Instead of transferring Rosario to a different long-term care facility that had the resources and staff to provide necessary care, the facility disregarded this risk in favor of untoward economic gain at the expense of her health and safety. Had the facility operated in compliance with all applicable rules, laws and regulations governing the operation of skilled nursing facilities in California, Rosario could have avoided unnecessary pain and hospitalizations.”
Allegations and Background
Following Ortega’s admission to Arbor Glen Care Center, her first hospitalization took place at Kindred Hospital, where laboratory results showed extremely low thyroid medications and calcium levels. The calcium deficiencies caused her hand to contract and no longer able to be used. A second hospitalization took place at Glendora Community Hospital, where Ortega remained for several months due to severe dehydration, severe malnutrition and low thyroid before being readmitted to Arbor Glen.
Upon readmission, it’s alleged the facility was well aware, through assessment information, family information, physician notes and orders, as well as care needs from her original admission, that Ortega suffered conditions that rendered her at high risk for falls, hypocalcemia, pressure sores, malnutrition, dehydration and corresponding injuries. Rather than providing required care to address these conditions, over the course of her stay, the facility continued to systematically disregard her needs and withheld required care.
In or around January 2018, Ortega was found by family with her eyes rolled back. Rather than promptly transferring and notifying appropriate parties, the lawsuit states that Arbor Glen withheld necessary and legally mandated care, and failed to report Ortega’s changes in condition for one week before conducting further tests, which revealed that she once again had very low calcium levels. To compound matters, the facility subsequently continued their blatant disregard for Ortega’s needs by disregarding physician orders directing staff to provide her calcium supplement through an IV. Instead, the facility utterly ignored the directive until three days later when facility staff arbitrarily discontinued the order, providing Ortega calcium supplements through her G-Tube despite all contraindications. Consequently, Ortega was transferred to Presbyterian Hospital the following day, where she remained for one week before returning to the facility.
In or around February 2018, Ortega suffered a fall in the facility and it’s alleged the facility fraudulently concealed that the fall occurred. Indeed, it was only when Ortega’s roommate disclosed the fall incident to Ortega’s family, did they finally become aware. When Ortega was inquired about the incident by her family, she explained that she fell while attempting to get out of bed unassisted and that her attempt was due to facility staff constantly leaving her in bed throughout the day. To further compound matters, when inquired by Ortega’s family, facility staff fraudulently accused Ortega of fabricating the incident.
On or about March 15, 2018, Ortega suffered another entirely preventable fall in the facility after rolling out of bed while unassisted and unsupervised. She was then transferred to San Dimas Hospital and diagnosed with a fractured knee. Unfortunately, Ortega was unsuitable for surgery due to her already compromised condition and advanced age, and was provided a knee brace and then returned to the facility.