Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Breaks Hip, Suffers Anemia, Lung Infection
Fremont, Calif. — Claire Cyrenne, a 91-year-old woman, was admitted to Carlton Plaza of Fremont for custodial care following a stroke and onset of dementia. It’s alleged that as a residential care facility for the elderly and not a skilled nursing home, the facility was prohibited by law from accepting a resident with Cyrenne’s conditions, but it did so anyway. Once she was admitted and retained as a resident, the facility became responsible for providing the level of nursing care she needed. According to the lawsuit, Cyrenne was routinely left in bed unfed, undressed and unbathed for long periods of time. As a result, her ability to walk deteriorated and she fell and broke her hip, requiring surgery. Upon admittance to the hospital for the fracture, she was also found to be dehydrated, anemic and suffering from a lung infection, among other injuries.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Carlton Plaza of Fremont for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“When Claire was admitted to Carlton Plaza of Fremont, it was with the promise that she would receive the skilled care she required. However, as evidenced in the lawsuit, facility operators knew their promises of providing care were fraudulent and that the facility’s understaffing issues would lead to resident harm,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Incredibly, the facility charged Claire extra for additional care services that were never provided, which leads us to believe that the defendants were more focused on filling beds to increase their earnings and not on the health of residents. This breach of trust should never happen, but unfortunately, it happens too often, which is why this facility continually receives deficiency notices from the Department of Social Services.”
Allegations and Background
On February 28, 2018, Cyrenne was admitted to Carlton Plaza of Fremont after suffering from a stroke and onset of dementia earlier that month. Just before admission, she had suffered a series of falls. Due to her conditions at the time of admission, she was dependent upon the facility for all activities of daily living.
Residential care facilities for the elderly are an intermediate step between independent living and nursing homes. They are geared to people who do not require skilled nursing care on an ongoing basis. Instead, they provide varying levels and intensities of non-medical care and services based on the varying needs of residents. These facilities do not provide medical treatment and, by law, are not supposed to admit or retain individuals with prohibited health conditions.
The lawsuit alleges that the facility was prohibited from accepting Cyrenne as a resident due to her needs and conditions. However, once they did accept her, facility operators took on the legally-mandated duties of providing the proper care and basic services she required.
The suit alleges that the facility was fully aware of the level of care Cyrenne needed. In fact, when she was admitted, facility staff promised Cyrenne’s responsible party that they would make sure she got out of bed and was bathed, dressed and brought to the dining room for meals, and that they would manage her medications. The facility not only promised that Cyrenne’s needs would be met, but it also charged fees in addition to the daily base rate because of her heightened personal care needs. The lawsuit further alleges that these representations about care and services were false and were made with the intent to deceive.
In spite of its promises, the facility engaged in recurrent and persistent disregard for Cyrenne’s needs, according to the lawsuit. Her responsible party routinely found her lying in bed throughout the day, undressed and unbathed, and her diaper wet with urine. The food on her tray was usually found untouched and her medications not administered. This withholding of custodial care continued even after repeated complaints to the facility’s executive directors and staff.
Due to this neglect, Cyrenne’s condition rapidly deteriorated to the point where she was completely dependent upon others and assistive devices for mobility. This dependence put her at even more risk for falls and resulting injury and meant she needed increased care to protect her from falling, which she failed to receive, the suit alleges.
Not surprisingly, Cyrenne fell, and on October 12, 2018, the facility notified Cyrenne’s responsible party that it had transferred her to Washington Hospital in Fremont for treatment. When Cyrenne arrived at the hospital, hospital personnel diagnosed her with a left hip fracture that required surgical repair. Additionally, upon admission to the hospital, Cyrenne was dehydrated, anemic, and suffering from a lung infection and a drug allergy.
On January 15, 2019, Cyrenne was readmitted to the facility after undergoing post-operative rehabilitative therapy at a skilled nursing facility. Remarkably, since her readmission, the facility has continued withholding the basic care and services she requires, despite the $4,500 monthly fee collected for her ongoing residency, the lawsuit alleges. She continues to be found lying in bed in soiled diapers with her food untouched.
The lawsuit asserts that despite her advanced age and conditions at the time of her admission to the facility, Cyrenne’s quality of life was greatly impacted by the lack of quality medical care she received there. The severity of the neglect has accelerated the deterioration of her health beyond that caused by the normal aging process. Cyrenne has suffered a rapid decline in her overall condition and has required multiple admissions to Marian Regional Medical Center.