Lawsuit Filed: Dependent Adult Woman Breaks Hip & Requires Surgery Due to Lakeport Nursing Facility’s Negligence
Lakeport, Calif. — Jan Barry, a 62-year-old dependent adult woman who suffered from severe arthritis, seizures and bipolar disorder, was admitted to Evergreen Lakeport Healthcare for post-operative care and rehabilitation following major knee surgery. It’s alleged that during her mere five days as a resident, Barry fell and fractured her hip, broke ribs and injured her shoulder because facility staff wrongfully withheld the assistance she needed that would have prevented her fall. Barry had to undergo further surgery to repair her hip fracture. According to the lawsuit, Barry’s substandard care was the direct result of the financial limitations and procedures forced upon the facility by its operators as they sought to maximize profits.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Evergreen at Lakeport for dependent adult abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“Facility staff knew that Jan had just undergone major knee surgery and had additional conditions that made her dependent upon them for 24-hour care and supervision, yet they cruelly ignored her simple requests for assistance to go to the bathroom, resulting in an avoidable fall,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Through an alleged plot devised and executed by management, the facility appeared to retain as many residents as possible for the purpose of receiving payment for supposed ‘Skilled Nursing Care’ and other services, which are offered but are, in reality, non-existent or subpar at best. This scheme has resulted in a lucrative business model in which all of the revenue flows directly into the pockets of the defendants, while residents such as Jan, receive little to no treatment in exchange for compensation.”
Allegations and Background
In 2016, Barry underwent major knee surgery related to severe arthritis at Ukiah Valley Medical Center. After surgery, Barry was admitted to Evergreen at Lakeport for rehabilitation therapy. She was expected to return home following rehabilitation.
The lawsuit alleges that facility staff were well aware that Barry had just undergone major knee surgery and knew from assessment information, family information and physician notes and orders that she was a high fall risk. They also knew that she was admitted to the facility for rehabilitation and skilled nursing care on a continuous 24-hour basis in which she needed assistance with all the activities of daily living during post-operative recovery.
Further, the suit alleges, the facility knew or should have known that Barry suffered from a history of seizures, bipolar disorder and severe arthritis and had a propensity to wander when left unattended, despite having just undergone knee surgery.
In spite of this knowledge, the suit alleges that the facility knowingly disregarded the risk to Barry during her five days as a resident at the facility and did not provide the required care or safety devices and equipment she required.
As stated in the lawsuit, Barry’s call signals to staff requesting assistance to use the bathroom frequently went unanswered and staff routinely made remarks to Barry that included statements such as “I’m not going to enable you, you can do it yourself.”
Within five days of entering the facility, as Barry’s calls to use the bathroom continued to be unanswered, she attempted to use the bathroom by herself to avoid the humiliation of urinating on herself. Predictably, Barry fell. She struck her head against the bathroom sink and her body against the toilet. She was sent to the emergency room at San Rafael Medical Center, where X-rays revealed a hip fracture that required surgical repair, injury to her shoulder and two broken ribs.
The lawsuit asserts that the facility had a practice and pattern of staffing with an insufficient number of service personnel, many of whom were not properly trained or qualified to care for the elders and/or dependent adults, whose lives were entrusted to them. Further, the facility, which has a rash of lawsuits against it, fraudulently concealed the Statement of Deficiencies and misrepresented to the general public and to Barry, that the facility was sufficiently staffed so as to be able tend to her needs, and the facility operated in compliance with all applicable rules, laws and regulations governing the operation of skilled nursing facilities in the State of California.