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Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman with Parkinson's Suffers Falls & Bedsores

Garcia & Artigliere

Yucaipa, Calif. — Lynne Carlson, a 78-year-old woman with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, was a resident of Braswell’s Mediterranean Gardens from 2000 through 2018. Over the course of her residency, she became increasingly infirm and dependent, and began to suffer falls and other mishaps. It’s alleged that as a non-medical residential care facility and not a skilled nursing home, the facility couldn’t provide the care Carlson required, yet they retained her anyway. Due to not receiving the 24-hour skilled nursing care she so desperately needed, Carlson’s skin began to break down and she developed infected, tunneling Stage III+ bedsores on her shoulder and lower back. Compounding matters, the facility allegedly hid the sores from her family, who didn’t find out about her injuries until she was transferred to the hospital. As a direct result of the facility’s alleged deceit and negligence, Carlson had to undergo otherwise unnecessary surgeries and painful medical treatments, and her health further deteriorated.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Braswell’s Mediterranean Gardens for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Anyone involved in caring for the elderly understands that failing to adequately fund and staff a care facility negatively affects residents,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Despite this, the Department of Social Services’ records noted that Braswell’s Mediterranean Gardens failed to meet legal obligations and correct problems, including their inability to properly train and staff the facility. It appears the facility intentionally disregarded these health and safety risks in their quest for profits, and Lynne suffered as a result of their greed.”

Allegations and Background

In early 2000, Carlson was admitted to the assisted living portion of Braswell’s Mediterranean Gardens. She suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia and could no longer care for herself at home. These conditions, in conjunction with her advanced age, forced her family to place her in an assisted living community.

Upon her admission, Carlson was able to perform the majority of the activities of daily living with assistance and was able to walk with a cane. However, over her years at the facility, Carlson became increasingly dependent and required more assistance with daily living activities. She also suffered from a number of mishaps. One involved another facility resident named “Ted,” who was known to physically abuse female residents. He allegedly did the same with Carlson, who told her family that Ted had put his hands under her bra strap and massaged her shoulders. The lawsuit alleges that Carlson did not want this attention from Ted, but was afraid to say anything out of fear of retaliation from facility staff. Later, Carlson’s family discovered that staff had allowed Ted to similarly inappropriately touch other female residents, who also refrained from reporting it out of fear of retaliation from facility management personnel.

Out of concern for her safety and well-being, her family confronted the facility administrator about Ted and told her that Carlson did not want or like Ted putting his hands on her. Incredibly, the administrator allegedly replied that some women in the facility liked their shoulders rubbed by a man. Shocked by the administrator’s lack of concern, Carlson’s family instructed the facility to keep Ted away from her.

After this incident, Carlson suffered a number of additional mishaps, including a series of entirely preventable falls, the lawsuit suit alleges. Despite her known conditions and increasing need for a higher level of care, the facility continued to retain Carlson in reckless disregard that she would be seriously injured.

As of 2018, Carlson’s physical and mental abilities had diminished to the point that she was wheelchair bound and dependent for assistance with her activities of daily living, including transfers, dressing, and pushing herself in her wheelchair. She was in the end stage of Parkinson’s and her dementia had worsened, making her increasingly forgetful. The lawsuit alleges that by this time, she was routinely left in her wheelchair all day long until bedtime.

It’s alleged that by 2018, Carlson was no longer legally suitable for retention in the non-medical facility due to her infirmities and dependence, which put her at high risk of skin breakdown and the development of pressure sores. The lawsuit further alleges that the facility retained Carlson as a resident in violation of the law, instead of transferring her to a skilled nursing facility where her health needs could be met.

As a consequence of this withholding of required care, which included turning and repositioning Carlson’s body ever two hours, keeping her clean and dry, and providing proper nutrition and hydration, her skin began to break down. To compound matters, the facility concealed the breakdown and Carlson’s skin continued to deteriorate, the lawsuit alleges.

Around July 2018, Carlson was transferred to Redlands Community Hospital where personnel discovered decubitus ulcers throughout her body. This was the first time the family learned of the pressure wounds, including one on her shoulder where she would often lean while sitting in her wheelchair had tunneling, and another wound on her coccyx area also had tunneling.

Carlson received treatment and wound care for several weeks at the hospital before being transferred to a skilled nursing facility in August 2018. She never returned to Braswell’s Mediterranean Gardens. Despite her age and conditions, Carlson’s quality of life was greatly impacted by the wrongful withholding of care and interventions at the facility. The abuse and neglect caused unnecessary and prolonged suffering for both Carlson and her family, according to the lawsuit.

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