Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Develops Bedsore & Toxic Blood Infection
Sun City, Calif. — Dorothy Tandle, an 86-year-old woman, entered Life Care Center of Menifee, a skilled nursing facility, for rehabilitation after a fall at home in January 2015. During her rehabilitation, Tandle suffered an overall health decline, becoming wheelchair bound and bedridden, and was admitted to the facility for long-term custodial care. It’s alleged that during her residency, Tandle developed an avoidable Stage III+ pressure sore that was left untreated until it became severely infected. The lawsuit states that the facility negligently delayed transferring her to a hospital for treatment and when they finally did, hospital doctors diagnosed Tandle as being in full septic shock with multi-organ failure and other serious conditions. She died that same day.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Life Care Center of Menifee for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“Our Complaint asserts that had Life Care Center of Menifee simply adhered to applicable rules, laws, and regulations as well as acceptable standards of practice governing the operation of a skilled nursing facility, Dorothy’s massive pressure sore and untimely death could have been avoided,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “In fact, the California State Legislature expressly mandated this required care for pressure sores in skilled nursing facilities as set forth in Title 22 California Code of Regulations §72315, but sadly, it appears the facility just flat out ignored these requirements. It is no surprise that this facility is repeatedly issued deficiencies by the Department of Public Health for failing to provide the patient care they have promised and are required to perform as a licensed healthcare provider.”
Allegations and Background
Upon admission to the Life Care Center of Menifee, Tandle suffered from diabetes and had a history of urinary tract infections. Her condition made her dependent for basic daily needs, including turning and repositioning her body, getting in and out of bed and wheelchair, dressing, grooming, bathing, hygiene, toileting, and medication management. Her family was unable to care for her at home and agreed with Tandle’s physician that she required professional attention. They admitted her to the facility for long-term care.
The lawsuit alleges that over the course of Tandle’s residency, the facility systematically and continuously flat out ignored her needs, and wrongfully withheld required services. This included failing to implement interventions to prevent the formation and worsening of pressure sores, provide her with pressure relieving devices to prevent skin breakdown, ensure she was clean and dry, ensure she was properly hydrated and received sufficient nutrition, and turn and reposition her at least every two hours to relieve pressure on her body.
The suit further alleges that as a direct result of the wrongful withholding of preventative wound care and services, Tandle slowly developed a pressure sore on her body.
On May 10, 2018, facility nursing staff authored wound assessments in Tandle’s records, documenting the onset of a Stage II coccyx sore that measured one and one-half by one-half centimeters and one-tenth centimeters deep. On May 25, 2018, the nursing staff reassessed the sore and documented that it now measured two and one-half by one centimeters and one-tenth centimeter deep. The lawsuit alleges that the facility’s negligence was compounded when staff failed to notice, report and respond to emerging signs of infection in the pressure sore.
In early September 2018, Tandle’s family went on vacation. The previous week, Tandle had stomach pain and constipation with swelling and tenderness to her abdomen. While her family was away, it was incumbent upon facility staff to keep her family apprised of her health status and report changes to her condition.
On September 20, 2018, Tandle’s daughter received a call from the facility reporting significant changes to Tandle’s condition. This notification was the first from the facility since the family had left for vacation. Staff reported that Tandle was not herself that day and explained that Tandle had experienced a sudden drop in blood pressure with a simultaneous spike in blood sugar. Shockingly, the lawsuit states that the staff asked whether the family wanted Tandle transferred to a hospital.
Tandle was transferred to Menifee Valley Hospital for evaluation and treatment. She was diagnosed in full septic shock with multi-organ failure, bacterial pneumonia, and a possible urinary tract infection. Tandle was crying in pain and had difficulty breathing. Sadly, this negligent care led Tandle’s death that same day, the lawsuit alleges.
On December 13, 2018, Tandle’s family, through counsel, presented the facility with a written request for release of Tandle’s records. In compliance with the law, the records should have been made available for inspection and photocopying within 48 hours of the request. The lawsuit alleges that the facility failed the family in this regard as part of an ongoing effort to hide the truth about Tandle’s injuries.