Bakersfield’s Golden Living Center Sued for Elder Abuse

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Golden Living Center in Bakersfield, California, for negligence, and negligent hiring and supervision. The lawsuit alleges that the facility severely neglected one of its patients, Cathleen Celeste Black, causing her to sustain a stage IV pressure ulcer on her right heel.

“The facility treated Cathleen as a piece of chattel and ignored her obviously increasing health risks,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Golden Living promised to provide Cathleen care, causing her to pay a significant amount of money to them. However, in return, they allowed her to simply lie around unattended and develop a completely avoidable pressure sore which bore into her skin and was allowed to become infected with gangrene.”

On June 9, 2015, Ms. Black was admitted to Golden Living Center because she could no longer be cared for at home. In late 2014, she suffered two strokes, leaving her paralyzed on her right side and with a very limited range of motion. As a result, she was dependent on the facility and staff for all of her activities of daily living. Ms. Black was transferred to the facility to receive rehabilitation treatment in order to regain her mobility skills.

Ms. Black suffered from various medical conditions, which rendered her a high risk for the development of pressure sores. The staff was aware that Ms. Black faced a substantial risk of weakened skin as a result of her impaired mobility.

Prior to her admission into the facility, Ms. Black had remained free of pressure sores. However, both the facility and staff wrongfully withheld the required treatment regimen from Ms. Black, failing to provide her with the most basic level of care. In fact, for an ongoing period of at least five months, the facility simply refused to provide Ms. Black her required care, which included relieving pressure from her heels, repositioning her every two hours, making sure she was clean and dry from feces, and making sure she was properly hydrated and receiving sufficient nutrition.

As a result of the facility’s negligence, Ms. Black began exhibiting a further decline in June 2015, at which point she was noted to have developed a sore on her heel. The facility fraudulently claimed to Ms. Black’s family that she was receiving adequate treatment. When her family and legal representative visited the facility, staff covered the wound with a sock in order to conceal the severity of the pressure sore. It worsened and eventually tunneled into Ms. Black’s bones, resulting in a bone infection.

Additionally, the staff withheld physical therapy from Ms. Black from June 2015 through December 2015. Instead of actually conducting the required range of motion treatment every day, the facility implemented a scheme to extract funds to support the nonexistent treatment.

On September 9, 2015, Ms. Black’s insurance ran out. Without insurance, and having not received any treatment for her mobility or pressure sore, Ms. Black decided she would leave and seek care elsewhere. However, the staff convinced her to stay. Months later, as a result of the continued neglect Ms. Black was receiving at the facility, she was rushed to Glendale Adventist Medical Center because her heel had turned black.

It was only after rushing to the hospital that Ms. Black’s family learned about the stage IV pressure ulcer on her heel, which by then was open and gangrenous. As a result of her injuries, Ms. Black will require six weeks of antibiotics and possible hyperbaric chamber treatment to save her right heel.