Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man Suffers Severe Injuries & Loses Ability to Walk Due to Santa Monica Nursing Facility’s Negligence

Santa Monica, Calif. — Clarence Mack Ausby, a 75-year-old man suffering from dementia, was admitted to Santa Monica Convalescent Center II for custodial care and services. The suit alleges that the facility did not provide the 24-hour care and supervision he required, resulting in Ausby falling, being overmedicated and suffering other significant injuries. Since becoming a resident at the facility, Ausby’s condition has declined so much that he can no longer walk on his own and is now confined to a wheelchair. According to the lawsuit, Ausby’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 Santa Monica Convalescent Center II for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“The facility promised that they would provide Clarence constant care and supervision needed to protect him from health and safety hazards, but instead of providing this necessary care, facility staff wrongfully transferred him to UCLA Medical Center where he was unnecessarily medicated,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Once Clarence was finally readmitted to Santa Monica Convalescent Center II at the recommendation of a social worker, it’s alleged the facility continued to overmedicate him to reduce their own workload. Further, facility staff completely ignored the express and repeated complaints and instruction of Clarence’s family to cease overmedicating, and not surprisingly, the overmedication has resulted in Clarence no longer being able to walk and other injuries. As stated in our Complaint, management knew that the facility suffered from understaffing, lack of training, failure to allot sufficient economic resources and unfitness of staff, and this inevitably led to the improper withholding of required medical and custodial services to residents, including Clarence.”

Allegations and Background

Ausby was admitted to Santa Monica Convalescent Center II on August 25, 2017. The lawsuit alleges that the facility was fully aware that Ausby was increasingly dependent for activities of daily living including managing and taking medication and needed 24-hour care and supervision for ambulation and due to a propensity for wandering. His cognitive impairment severely affected his ability for clear decision-making and being out in the community unassisted. In fact, just prior to being admitted to the facility, Ausby had wandered from a residential care facility and was found at a bus stop several days later.

The suit alleges that the facility was aware at the time of his admittance that Ausby needed special care and assistance to address his worsening dementia. The facility was further advised that Ausby could still get in and out of bed and walk without assistance, and therefore was at high risk for falls and injury.

The information about Ausby’s condition and needs are documented in records and documents dated just before his admission to the facility. In these documents, Ausby is recorded as suffering from conditions even before entering the facility that include cognitive impairments causing him to be confused and disoriented. The records also show he was completely dependent for managing and taking medications that included dementia, anxiety and insomnia medicines.

Following admission to the facility, Ausby became increasingly agitated and confused. He expressed the desire to leave the facility and return home with his family. After several weeks, the facility transferred Ausby to UCLA Medical Center where he was given paralytic drugs. Following his hospitalization, the facility refused to readmit him.

The suit alleges in wrongfully refusing to readmit him, the facility labeled Ausby as psychotic and falsely told his family there were no available beds for him. Because of this, he stayed at UCLA Medical Center for three weeks until a social worker met with facility staff and convinced them to readmit him.

The facility knew upon Ausby’s readmission that he required 24-hour supervision and care. The suit alleges they were well aware that without that care he was at high risk for suffering injury. In spite of this knowledge, they did not provide the required care and supervision.

Predictably, Ausby then suffered a fall. When asked by his family whether he was injured, staff said he just had a bruise on his hip. Staff made no mention of any further assessment performed after his fall, which violated the resident rights of Ausby and his family to be kept apprised of his total health status.

The lawsuit also alleges that the facility was overmedicating Ausby with chemical restraints. His family had also complained that he was beginning to have deformities to his lower body and that he was being left in a wheelchair for too long.

By the end of 2017, Ausby’s family, concerned about his well-being, brought in an outside physician. It is alleged that the facility physician, Dr. Ronald Nudelman, placed a scathing call to the family and said he would no longer care for Ausby.

The lack of care from the facility has continued and as of this complaint, Ausby, who could still walk when he entered the facility, is now confined to a wheelchair, where he is left sitting in front of the nurses’ station all day long.