Elderly Woman Suffers Rib & Tibia Fractures; Long Beach
Long Beach, Calif. — Linda Suzanne Sharp, a 72-year-old non-ambulatory diabetic with severe osteoporosis, was admitted to Bel Vista Healthcare Center for mobility and transfer rehabilitation to prevent falls. In August 2017, Sharp suffered multiple rib fractures after being elbowed in the chest by facility staff during a transfer from her wheelchair to bed. As a result of a lack of staffing, the staff at Bel Vista were unable to comply with the facility’s transfer policies and procedures. Then adding insult to injury, Bel Vista failed to take proper action to address the injuries, ignored her cries of severe pain and delayed acquiring required care for Sharp for approximately ten days and only then when Sharp’s husband found her with swelling in her knee the size of a basketball.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Bel Vista Healthcare Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“Bel Vista Healthcare Center was legally required to employ qualified personnel to carry out all of the functions of the facility, and clearly failed to meet this duty,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Our lawsuit contends the facility knowingly exposed Linda to extreme health and safety hazards by employing insufficient staff in both training and number, which led directly to her avoidable injuries. Further, the facility operated in this manner with the intent to increase its revenues and profit margins even though this would cause widespread neglect of residents.”
Allegations and Background
On or about June 12, 2017, Sharp was admitted to Bel Vista Healthcare Center unable to walk or talk. According to the lawsuit, it was specifically advised upon Sharp’s admission that she suffered from significant functional limitations given her advanced age, infirmities, and myriad of medical conditions, including osteoporosis that left her dependent for activities of daily living. As a result, Sharp required special care to protect her from safety and health hazards posed by her high risk for falls and fractures.
In or about mid-August 2017, Sharp suffered multiple rib fractures while being transferred from her wheelchair to bed. It’s alleged the facility staff did not assess Sharp following the incident and her husband eventually found her in extreme pain after a significant delay. Only thereafter and reluctantly did the facility staff conduct the x-ray, which revealed multiple rib fractures. The lawsuit also states the facility denied that the fractures resulted from the transfer incident and misrepresented the extent of her injuries. Therefore, Sharp’s husband relied upon and arranged for further bone density testing rather than transfer her to a hospital.
Following this, it’s alleged the facility failed to provide Sharp with timely and appropriate care despite her complaints of extreme pain and the swollen area on her knee the size of a softball. The facility staff failed to conduct further assessments and fraudulently misrepresented to the contrary, stating no fracture was indicated. Approximately ten days after, Sharp’s husband found her with the swelling in her knee increased to the size of a basketball. Sharp was then transferred to Los Alamitos Medical Center where x-rays revealed the tibia fracture from which 55 cc’s of blood was drained.