Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Fractures Legs & Develops Bedsore
Napa, Calif. — Jacquelene Hodnett, an elderly woman, had been a resident of Aegis Assisted Living of Napa for two years. After suffering a fall and undergoing surgery for a broken hip, she was readmitted to the facility in 2016, when she was 85 years old. Upon her readmittance, Hodnett, who also suffered from dementia, now required 24-hour skilled nursing care, which as a residential care facility, Aegis Assisted Living of Napa could not legally provide. It’s alleged that the facility knowingly readmitted her despite this, and then wrongfully withheld the care she required. After her readmittance, Hodnett fell and fractured both legs and developed bedsores so severe that her bone was exposed, and she had to undergo a painful skin debridement procedure. According to the lawsuit, in order to promote profits, facility management admitted and retained Hodnett even though they were fully aware that in doing so, they were exposing her to extreme health and safety hazards.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Aegis Assisted Living of Napa for elder abuse and negligent hiring and supervision.
“By readmitting Jacquelene to Aegis Assisted Living of Napa, the facility assumed responsibility for her care and supervision, but by virtue of being chronically understaffed and poorly run by management, the facility failed to provide her with basic services and adequate supervision, as stated in our Complaint,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “The Complaint alleges that in the interest of untoward profit over resident care, facility management made a conscious decision to take Jacquelene’s money and then deny her the adequate care she required. Further, the facility’s failure to correct the problems, which were documented in the Department of Social Services’ records, included their inability to properly train and staff the facility which led directly to Jacquelene’s fall and resulting injuries.”
Allegations and Background
Hodnett was admitted to Aegis Assisted Living of Napa after showing signs and symptoms of dementia, in or about 2014. She was still able to walk and perform activities of daily living including turning and repositioning, getting into and out of her bed and wheelchair, dressing, grooming, bathing, hygiene, toileting and managing medication.
In or about 2016, Hodnett suffered a fall at the facility and broke her hip. She was transferred to Kaiser Vallejo Hospital, where it was determined she needed surgery to repair her hip.
After recovering from surgery, Hodnett was readmitted to the facility with health conditions that prohibited her readmission and retention as a resident of a residential care facility for the elderly. Residential care facilities for the elderly are an intermediate step between independent living and a skilled nursing home. They do not provide medical care and treatment. Instead, these facilities provide varying levels and intensities of non-medical care and services based on the resident’s needs.
The lawsuit alleges that in spite of the facility’s knowledge of Hodnett’s conditions, they recklessly accepted and retained Hodnett as a resident anyway, even though they were not required by law to do so, and in fact, were prohibited by law. However, once they accepted her, the facility took on the legally-mandated duties of providing the proper care and basic services that Hodnett required.
The lawsuit further alleges that upon readmission to the facility, staff were well aware that Hodnett suffered from dementia, had a history of falls and was at high risk to suffer further falls. Therefore, she required special care and assistance, including 24-hour supervision and monitoring, assistance with all the activities of daily living, and safety equipment and devices to prevent falling. The suit alleges that even though they were well aware of her conditions, the facility failed to create and implement proper care plans for Hodnett.
Predictably, in about March 2017, Hodnett suffered another fall while attempting to use the toilet unassisted. As a result of the fall, Hodnett suffered fractures to both legs. She was taken to Kaiser Vallejo Hospital. She was readmitted to the facility later that month.
Adding insult to injury, when asked how Hodnett fell, the suit alleges that facility staff falsely denied that Hodnett was unassisted during the fall. They continued to misrepresent the facts, asserting that Hodnett was accompanied by a certified nursing assistant when she fell.
The lawsuit also alleges that facility staff was fully aware upon Hodnett’s readmission to the facility that because of her medical conditions, she was at high risk for pressure sores. She needed constant attention and care to her skin via interventions such as turning and repositioning her body every two hours and having her heels offloaded to relieve pressure on them. She also needed the wound bandage on her hip to be kept clean and dry and to stay properly hydrated to fight off bedsores.
Unfortunately, the suit alleges, due to the insufficiency of staff in number, competence, and training, this care was not provided, which led to the emergence of preventable bedsores on Hodnett’s hips and ankles. One horrific bedsore went without required care to the point that it ate away Hodnett’s skin, tissue, and muscle to the bone.
To compound matters, the suit alleges, facility staff concealed the pressure sores, and this cover-up by staff continued unabated.
In about August 2017, Hodnett attended an orthopedic follow-up appointment related to the fractures to her legs suffered in March. During the visit, the doctor discovered the severe pressure sores and recommended transferring Hodnett to a hospital immediately. No one from the facility had made such a recommendation.
Hodnett was admitted to Kaiser Vallejo Hospital where she underwent a painful debridement procedure for the bedsore she had developed at the facility. After recovering from surgery, she was discharged to a skilled nursing facility and never returned to Aegis Assisted Living of Napa.