Elderly Woman Suffers Fall Resulting in Broken Shoulder Due To Nursing Home Neglect

Placentia, Calif.— After suffering a fall in her home, Betty Jean Sexton Kumler was admitted to De Palma Terrace Senior Living for assistance with her activities of daily living. However, the facility neglected Kumler, ignoring her high risk of falls and thereby allowing her to suffer multiple falls that resulted in a broken shoulder.

“Betty’s injuries were a result of the facility’s failure to allocate sufficient financial resources to provide their residents with the basic legally required care an elder deserves,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “They failed to ensure her safety and as a direct result, she suffered a severe injury.”

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against De Palma Terrace Senior Living for elder abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, and wrongful death. The lawsuit states that the facility accepted responsibility for Kumler knowing that she required a higher level of care. Upon her admission, Kumler suffered from severe dementia, a propensity to wander and significant psychiatric medications.

During her stay at the facility, staff consciously disregarded her known risk and failed to provide Kumler with required care. The facility failed to notify her physician and family members about her behavior and condition changes; provide safety measures to address aggressive behavior and wandering; provide dementia care training to staff; and maintain an adequate number of direct care staff to support each resident’s physical, social, emotional, safety and health care needs.

As a direct result of the facility’s negligence, Kumler suffered multiple falls at the facility. After her initial fall, the facility did not update care plans to prevent her from additional falls. The falls continued unabated until Kumler fell in March 2016 and broke her shoulder when she was left unattended, and attempted to get out of her bed to use the restroom because no one was available to her assist her. It was not until later that day that she was found alone on the bathroom floor. She was in so much pain that she would not allow any of the staff to touch her right arm.

Eventually, Kumler’s daughter was notified of the fall. Instead of calling 911, the staff told her to seek out her own medical attention. In the days following the fall, Kumler remained at the facility without receiving any medical care or treatment for her broken shoulder.

Her condition continued to decline, and she suffered a loss in appetite and stopped eating. Since the facility failed to reappraise her condition, she received no additional assistance in response to her fractured shoulder. On multiple occasions when staff was dressing her, they noticed that Kumler could not move her arm because of the pain, and instead of assisting her, they simply stopped dressing her.

On March 26, 2016, more than a week after breaking her shoulder and having still received no medical attention, Kumler was found unresponsive. She was finally taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she was found to have low blood pressure, and was malnourished and dehydrated. X-rays confirmed that she suffered from a fractured shoulder resulting from the fall.