Elderly Man Suffers Pneumonia and Dies; Concord
Concord, Calif. — Jerry Lamb, an 87-year-old man with dementia and lung cancer, was admitted to San Miguel Villa because he required special care to prevent his high aspiration risk and his family could no longer care for him at home. Over the course of several weeks during his residency, it’s alleged Lamb and his family continually requested needed medical assistance, which the facility repeatedly ignored. Lamb was later transferred to an acute care facility, where he was noted to be hypoxic as the result of suffering aspiration pneumonia and was literally suffocating from his own food, vomit, and liquid, conditions not timely addressed by San Miguel. Unfortunately, after a few days, Lamb succumbed to the injuries due to the wrongful withholding of required care by San Miguel Villa.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against San Miguel Villa for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“San Miguel Villa knew Jerry was a high risk for low oxygenation and that active prevention of aspiration problems is key, and yet the staff did nothing to put a proper care plan in place, and then flat out ignored his cries for help for weeks,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “We intend to prove this misconduct was a direct mechanism to ensure unlawful profit at the expense of legally mandated care to be provided to facility residents. The facility’s purposeful mismanagement of funds led to a violation of state and federal rules, laws and regulations, as well as Jerry’s unnecessary injuries and death.”
Allegations and Background
In or about November 2016, Lamb was admitted to San Miguel Villa suffering from significant cognitive and physical maladies, including that he was a high risk for low oxygenation, which the lawsuit asserts the facility was well aware of through assessment information, family information, as well as physician notes and orders. Despite this knowledge, the facility failed to assess, generate and implement an adequate plan of care for Lamb and put in place preventive measures for aspiration.
On or about September 12, 2017, Lamb’s wife asked the facility to contact a physician because Lamb was ill. The facility promised to get a physician but ultimately ignored the request.
On or about September 16, 2017, Lamb’s wife once again asked that a physician be called. In response, a nurse allegedly laughed and responded that there was nothing wrong with Lamb.
On September 18, 2017, after requests for a physician continued to be ignored by the facility, Lamb’s wife spoke to a facility supervisor again advising of the emergent need for medical attention. In response, the facility did nothing, insisting that Lamb sits in pain and danger “until Monday.” Unfortunately, that Monday, a physician still wasn’t contacted.
On September 22, 2017, Lamb was finally transferred and admitted to John Muir Hospital, where he was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia.
It’s alleged that as the direct result of the insufficiency of facility staff, in both number and competency, the facility wrongfully withheld required care from Lamb for weeks, including constant checking of his ability to swallow; assessing neurological deficits caused by low oxygenation; ensuring that the head of bed was over 30 degrees; oral suctioning of airway obstructions; food intake monitoring; proper diet plans; eating assistance and prompt notification to the resident physician of any significant changes in condition.
Further, pursuant to the last filing submitted by the facility with the State of California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for the reporting period through September 30, 2016, the facility either siphoned $355,490 in payments for unspecified services or paid the facility’s management through “LEC” for the provision of limited to no services. The facility also paid Mark Calloway and Gary Jarvis, $60,000 each for non-existent “consulting services,” rather than providing these funds to the facility operations to comply with the law.