Woman Develops Horrific Stage IV Bedsore; Never Recovers and Later Dies
Alameda, Calif. — Cathy Campbell, a 61-year-old dependent adult woman suffering from hypertension and chronic kidney failure that left her at high risk for infections, was admitted to Alameda Healthcare & Wellness Center for post-operative care and rehabilitation following heart surgery. It’s alleged that while she was a resident, Campbell developed severe bedsore and urinary tract infections, and the facility wrongfully withheld care that would have prevented the injuries and did not treat the worsening injuries. While her stay at the facility lasted only weeks, Campbell never recovered from her injuries and died several months later. According to the lawsuit, Campbell’s substandard care was the direct result of the financial limitations and procedures forced upon the facility by its operators as they sought to maximize profits.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Alameda Healthcare & Wellness Center for dependent adult abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“Facility staff knew Cathy’s injuries were increasing day after day because they observed and documented the worsening infections,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Moreover, the facility knew that by not elevating her to a higher level of care when the sore reached a Stage III, they were violating the law, but in the interest of profits over patients, they made a conscious choice to wrongfully deny needed medical care. The facility’s rampant regulatory violations, which led to Cathy’s injuries, are well-documented in deficiencies issued by the State of California’s Department of Health Services.”
Allegations and Background
Campbell, who had a severe heart condition, underwent triple bypass open heart surgery at San Jose Hospital. She was weaned from a ventilator before being transferred to Folsom Hospital.
In May 2017, Campbell was admitted to Alameda Healthcare & Wellness Center for post-operative care and rehabilitation. Upon her admission, it’s alleged the facility was fully aware that Campbell’s post-operative condition left her non-ambulatory and that she suffered from conditions including hypertension and chronic kidney failure that left her predisposed to developing infection and pressure sores. Campbell required 24-hour care with all aspects of daily living including eating, toileting, grooming, dressing, bathing, transferring in and out of bed and wheelchair, repositioning in bed, personal hygiene and continence care.
On or about May 9, 2017, Campbell suffered a fall from her wheelchair. The suit alleges that facility staff sought to cover up the fall and no one from the facility notified her physician or family about the fall or injuries she had developed, including a pressure sore on her coccyx and urinary tract infections from prolonged and unnecessary catheter use, or what was being done to treat them.
Instead of providing the required basic care, it’s alleged that facility staff ignored the pressure sore and recurrent infection. In June 2017, the facility finally transferred Campbell to Alameda Hospital because the pressure sore on her coccyx had become a Stage IV decubitus ulcer that was leaking all over her bed. The wound had developed sepsis and required vacuum-assisted closure. The injury was so severe that Alameda Hospital contacted local authorities to investigate and a police report was taken.
After Campbell was discharged from the facility in June 2017, she never returned. Unfortunately, she never recovered from the severe and preventable injuries she suffered there. Her health continued to decline and she endured an unnecessarily painful, prolonged recovery requiring stays at Windsor Healthcare in Oakland, Highland Hospital and Golden Living Center – Chateau. She passed away on December 8, 2017.
The lawsuit asserts that the facility had a practice and pattern of staffing with an insufficient number of service personnel, many of whom were not properly trained or qualified to care for the elders and/or dependent adults, whose lives were entrusted to them. Further, the facility fraudulently concealed the Statement of Deficiencies and misrepresented to the general public and to Campbell, that the facility was sufficiently staffed so as to be able to tend to her needs, and the facility operated in compliance with all applicable rules, laws, and regulations governing the operation of skilled nursing facilities in the State of California.