Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man Develops Massive Bone-Exposing Bedsores, Dies
Hawthorne, Calif. — Solomon Winn, Sr., an 82-year-old wheelchair-bound man with Alzheimer’s and dementia, was admitted to Hawthorne Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP for long-term care in 2017. Due to his medical conditions, Winn was dependent upon the facility for all activities of daily living and was particularly vulnerable to pressure sores. It’s alleged that during his short stay at the facility, Winn, who was non-communicative, developed several severe bedsores due to the negligent treatment he received. As stated in the Complaint, facility nurses hid the sores from his family and by the time they were discovered, the sores exposed bone and had grown to the size of oranges. Winn died from his injuries just two weeks after entering the facility.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Hawthorne Healthcare & Wellness Centre, LP for elder abuse, negligent hiring and supervision, and wrongful death.
“The alleged substandard care during Solomon’s stay resulted from a plot by the facility’s executive operators’ to increase profits at the expense of residents. Integral to this scheme was the practice and pattern of understaffing the facility, in both numbers and training, to reduce labor costs,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “In fact, as of the filing of this lawsuit, the management partner of the facility, Hawthorne Wellness GP, LLC, has been suspended from transacting business in the state. It appears the defendants’ focus on generating revenue was of greater importance than the health and safety of residents. Sadly, Solomon paid the ultimate price for this greed.”
Allegations and Background
On February 24, 2017, Winn was admitted to the facility for long-term care because his family could no longer care for him at home. Upon his admission, Winn suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was unable to communicate, and was wheelchair bound. Due to his infirmities, Winn was dependent upon the facility for all activities of daily living, including turning and repositioning, transferring into and out of bed and wheelchair, feeding, hydration, dressing, bathing, toileting and medication management. His dependence and infirmities made him particularly vulnerable for developing pressure sores.
The lawsuit alleges that by admitting Winn as a resident, facility operators, who were fully aware of his dependency and conditions, asserted that the facility could meeting his custodial needs, including those pertaining to his dementia-related behaviors. In fact, according to state regulations, skilled nursing facilities such as this one owe a mandatory duty to “accept and retain only those patients for whom it can provide adequate care.” The facility allegedly failed Winn in this regard.
The suit further alleges that the facility systematically and continuously failed to provide Winn with the medical and custodial care he required. The facility did not provide proper personal hygiene and left Winn in his own waste for extended periods of time; failed to turn and reposition him in bed to relieve pressure on his skin and body; and failed to provide him with adequate nutrition and hydration.
The suit states that as a result of these and other failures in his care, Winn’s skin began to break down. To compound matters, the facility’s nurses also fraudulently concealed the skin breakdown from Winn’s family and doctor, which violates state and federal regulations. Skilled nursing facilities are required to notify doctors immediately when residents develop pressure sores, and must follow doctor treatment orders.
Due to the facility allegedly failing to provide proper care and then concealing his skin conditions, Winn developed horrendous pressure sores. When his family first discovered the sores, they covered his body. He had open, bone-exposing wounds the size of oranges on his heel, ankle and buttocks.
On March 9, 2017, Winn passed away after spending the remainder of his life enduring painful injuries. His death was the direct result of the neglect and injuries he suffered at the facility, the suit alleges. Further, this abuse and neglect caused unnecessary and prolonged suffering for both Winn and his family.
The lawsuit asserts that the defendants were focused on unlawfully increasing the earnings of the facility as opposed to providing legally mandated minimum care to be provided to elder and/or infirm residents in their skilled nursing facilities. This focus played a part in the underfunding of the facility which led to the facility violating state and federal rules, laws and regulations, and led to the injuries and death to Winn.