Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man Suffers Bone-Exposing Pressure Sores
Montebello, Calif. — Alvaro Delgado Piñon, an 85-year-old man, was admitted to Montebello Care Center for custodial care after suffering a paralyzing stroke. During the few weeks that he resided at the skilled nursing facility, Piñon was transferred to the hospital several times for urinary tract infections, persistent vomiting, breathing problems, and muscle weakness. While at the hospital, personnel discovered massive Stage III+ pressure sores on his heel and coccyx. It’s alleged that Piñon’s sores developed directly because of the negligent care he received from facility staff, who also sought to hide the injuries from his family and doctor, further worsening the injuries. As a result of Piñon’s significant injuries, he suffered extreme and unnecessary pain, and his overall condition has severely deteriorated. According to the lawsuit, facility owners and managers executed an intentional and ongoing scheme to understaff and underfund the nursing home to lower costs and increase earnings, directly leading to Piñon’s injuries.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Montebello Care Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“Alvaro was partially paralyzed and unable to speak when he entered the facility, making him entirely dependent upon facility staff for his care. Facility operators were well aware of how particularly vulnerable this elderly man was, and yet it appears they showed little concern for his well-being,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “In their single-minded pursuit of more profits, our lawsuit alleges that facility operators systematically and continuously ignored Alvaro’s needs by not supplying adequate staff or resources for his care. This wrongful withholding of required care and services violates the laws and regulations that govern skilled nursing facilities.”
Allegations and Background
On November 12, 2018, Piñon suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side of his body, with difficulty swallowing and an inability to speak. He was hospitalized and provided with a catheter prior to his admittance to the facility.
On November 15, 2018, Piñon was admitted to the facility for custodial care. The lawsuit alleges that while under the care of the facility, operators and staff neglected Piñon and as a result of that neglect, he developed massive Stage III+ pressure sores on his heel and coccyx area.
On November 21, 2018, Piñon was transferred to the hospital for treatment and evaluation related to a lung infection, sepsis and persistent vomiting of brown mucus.
On December 2, 2018, Piñon was again transferred to the hospital due to unresolved vomiting, breathing difficulties, muscle weakness, and a urinary tract infection. At this time, his family was notified about a massive pressure sore on his heel. Before this hospital transfer, it’s alleged no one from the facility had informed Piñon’s family or physician about the infection or horrific pressure sore, or what was being done to treat the wound. Not reporting the pressure sore was in direct violation of state and federal regulations that mandate that doctors must be notified when nursing home patients develop pressures sores and doctors’ orders must be followed in treating sores.
On January 9, 2019, Piñon suffered a choking incident at the facility. He was transported to Garfield Medical Center with aspiration pneumonia and another urinary tract infection. He needed a blood transfusion, was placed on a ventilator and was put on diuretics due to a fluid overload. A massive, open bedsore was also discovered on his coccyx area.
Piñon never returned to Montebello Care Center. The lawsuit alleges that despite his advanced age and conditions at the time of his admission to the facility, Piñon’s health was greatly impacted by the lack of quality medical care he received at the facility.
From the time of his admission to the facility and throughout his residency there, Piñon was particularly susceptible to the development of pressure sores and infection. This risk profile was because of his advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions that left him dependent for all the activities of daily living. The lawsuit alleges that the facility was fully aware of Piñon’s conditions and dependency needs at the time of his admission, and his high risk for pressure sores, but failed to provide the fundamental nursing care he needed to stay safe and injury free, which resulted in the development of horrific and avoidable pressure sores. This failure was due to chronic understaffing at the facility, in both number and training, according to the suit.