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Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Develops Bone-Exposing Bedsores; San Marcos

Garcia & Artigliere

San Marcos, Calif. — Carmen Luevano, an 86-year-old bedridden woman, was admitted to Village Square Healthcare Center for care and assistance with all activities of daily living. It’s alleged that during the approximately five months of her residency at the skilled nursing facility, Luevano developed several preventable pressure sores on her back and buttocks that were left untreated. The Complaint states that the staff did not tell Luevano’s family or her doctor about the sores, and they were only finally discovered when the family found blood on Luevano’s bedding. By this time, the wounds had turned into severe Stage IV sores that were open to the bone. Luevano underwent painful medical treatments causing excruciating pain, suffering, mental anguish, and other injuries, according to the lawsuit.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Village Square Healthcare Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“By accepting Carmen with her known pre-existing conditions and needs, Village Square Healthcare Center, in effect, represented that she would receive the necessary quality of care she required and was paying good money for,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “However, based on the scope and severity of the unabated neglect Carmen allegedly suffered, it’s clear the facility consciously disregarded her health risks and systematically withheld the competent staff and resources she required. Our lawsuit asserts that the substandard care and blatant lack of concern for Carmen’s well-being resulted from the facility operators’ plot to divert revenue from patient care and into their own pockets.”

Allegations and Background

On September 1, 2017, Luevano was admitted to Village Square Healthcare Center because her family could no longer care for her at home. Upon entering the facility, she was suffering from pre-existing conditions that left her bedbound and dependent on others for all activities of daily living, including turning and repositioning her body, transferring into and out of her bed and wheelchair, dressing, grooming, bathing, hygiene, toileting, and medication management.

The lawsuit alleges that upon her admittance, the facility was well aware of Luevano’s pre-existing conditions and associated healthcare needs. This knowledge came from assessment information, physician orders and instructions, and medical documentation. When the facility accepted Luevano with her known conditions, facility operators represented that she would receive the necessary level of care that she required. The suit further alleges that these knowingly false representations led directly to Luevano’s injuries.

Over the course of her stay at the facility, from September 1, 2017 through February 6, 2018, the facility continually and systematically failed to provide Luevano the medical and custodial care that she required, including assisting her with all the activities of daily living, providing proper hydration and nutrition, and supplying her with working equipment to reduce the risk of pressure sores, the suit alleges.

The Complaint states that on one occasion, Luevano’s family found her lying on top of a metal bedframe because an untrained and unsupervised facility staff member had turned off her special air mattress, which had been specifically put in place to prevent pressure sores. This incident is just one specific example of the negligent care Luevano was allegedly subjected to throughout her residency.

Predictably, because of this negligent withholding of care, multiple skin wounds slowly developed on Luevano’s body, most pronouncedly on her buttocks and coccyx area, the suit alleges. As the withholding of care continued unabated, the skin wounds progressively worsened.

The suit also alleges that no one from the facility informed Luevano’s family or doctor about the pressure sores or what was being done to treat them. In fact, in an attempt to cover up the facility’s failure to provide required care, nurses concealed the sores from Luevano’s family and untruthfully stated that nothing was wrong.

The horrific pressure sores were finally discovered by Luevano’s family after they found her lying in bed covered in blood. At this point, the wounds had advanced into Stage IV pressure ulcers that had eaten through skin, fascia, and muscle, and were open to the bone.

The lawsuit alleges that Luevano’s multiple Stage IV pressure sores caused her to undergo painful medical treatments and eventually led to her death. These injuries were not the result of isolated failures, but rather the result of prolonged neglect and abuse that arose out of four calculated business practices by the facility operators. These alleged practices include understaffing, marketing and sales schemes designed to fill beds while not providing required care to residents, using unqualified and untrained employees who were forbidden by law to provide nursing care, and recruiting residents who required a higher level of care than the facility was capable of providing in order to receive larger financial reimbursements.

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