Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man With Dementia Wanders Away
Los Angeles, Calif. — Clarence Mack Ausby, a 74-year-old man suffering from dementia, was admitted to Beverly Hills Senior Care because his family could no longer care for him. It’s alleged that the facility recklessly and unlawfully admitted Ausby even though it could not provide the 24-hour care and supervision he required as a residential care facility for the elderly. According to the Complaint, while a resident at the facility, Ausby predictably wandered away. He was not found for several days, resulting in physical and emotional injuries. The lawsuit alleges that the facility failed to ensure that adequate staff was available to properly supervise Ausby, which resulted in his elopement.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Beverly Hills Senior Care for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“As a residential care facility, the defendants knew that they were not capable of or legally allowed to care for someone with Clarence’s medical conditions,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Still, they allowed him into the facility knowing full-well that he required a higher level of care than they were able to provide. Not surprisingly, Clarence wandered away and was unnecessarily injured. In order to line their own pockets, the defendants knowingly exposed this vulnerable senior to extreme health and safety risks.”
Allegations and Background
Ausby was admitted to Beverly Hills Senior Care in or about September 2017
Beverly Hills Senior Care is a residential care facility for the elderly. Residential care facilities for the elderly are an intermediate step between independent living and skilled nursing homes. They do not provide medical care and treatment. Instead, these facilities provide varying levels and intensities of non-medical care and services and are intended to be a “humane approach to meeting the housing and social service needs for older persons” by providing a homelike environment.
The lawsuit alleges that the facility admitted Ausby as a resident even though it knew from his family and documentation provided upon his admittance that he had a health condition that prohibited him from residing at a residential care facility. Ausby was dependent upon facility staff for protection from health and safety hazards and required 24-hour skilled nursing assistance with activities of daily living. He had a propensity to wander when left unattended and had cognitive impairments that severely limited his ability to make decisions and function unattended in the community.
Predictably, because of the alleged insufficient care and supervision he received at the facility, Ausby eloped just a few days after his admission. It was documented that another resident observed Ausby leave the facility at the time of the incident.
The lawsuit states that at the time Ausby left the facility, the staff member assigned to the unit where he was housed still had not arrived for work. Even though the staff member was assigned for the 7 a.m. shift, he did not arrive until 7:20 a.m.
After the staff member discovered Ausby was missing, he reported the incident to the facility administrator. The facility was required by law to take prompt and appropriate corrective action after they discovered Ausby was missing. However, the suit alleges that rather than taking the required and appropriate actions, the staff simply searched the general area of the facility and notified Ausby’s family that they could not find him.
The lawsuit further alleges that the facility did not make any further effort to locate Ausby. As a result, it was left up to his family to search for him. They filed a missing person police report, posted flyers, and contacted radio stations to get the word out that Ausby was missing.
The search continued for several days without any sightings. Finally, approximately three days after Ausby disappeared, a passerby recognized him from one of the flyers that were taped to a light pole. At the time of the sighting, Ausby was at a bus stop on Fairfax Ave. & Venice Blvd., approximately three miles away from the facility. After being notified of the sighting, Ausby’s family picked him up. He was brought to Kaiser Hospital’s Cadillac Branch severely dehydrated and malnourished.
On October 16, 2017, the California Department of Social Services cited the facility with a Type A Citation over the incident. It alleged that the failure by facility staff to supervise Ausby resulted in his elopement from the facility.