Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man Suffers Severe Pressure Sores at Loma Linda Nursing Facility, Requiring Hospitalization

Loma Linda, Calif. – William Sweeney, a 74-year-old man, was admitted to Linda Valley Care Center for care and treatment in recovery from a stroke which rendered him, as the result of immobility, particularly susceptible to the development of horrific and painful pressure sores. And in fact, Sweeney was sent to Linda Valley Care Center, in part, to specifically receive care for the prevention of the development of pressure sores. Not only did Linda Valley Care Center failed to provide the promised care to Sweeney to prevent the development of pressure sores they fraudulently concealed the fact that their misconduct caused Sweeney to develop pressure sores. In fact, it was not until Sweeney was discharged from the facility approximately four weeks after being admitted and taken home, whereupon his family discovered gruesome pressure sores on his heels. The heel wounds exposed bone and were so severe, Sweeney’s family transferred him to Loma Linda Veteran Affairs Hospital, where he received extensive wound care, wound debridement and a two-month hospitalization due to a bone infection that had developed within the wound.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Linda Valley Care Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Linda Valley Care Center owed a duty to William to respect his right to be free from mental and physical abuse; however, it’s clear the facility acted in conscious disregard and at the expense of legally mandated minimum care to be provided to residents in skilled nursing facilities in the state of California,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “In fact, it’s alleged that the staff was aware that the facility had previously received several deficiencies for failing to provide care and yet chose not to increase staff in number or training, resulting in William and other residents’ injuries. We want to put an immediate stop to these illegal practices so that current and future residents don’t have to go through the same sort of suffering.”

Allegations and Background

In or about 2007, Sweeney suffered a stroke, leaving him with physical and cognitive impairments. Over the years following the stroke, he experienced a rapid decline in his physical and mental ability to care for himself until becoming dependent on others to perform activities of daily living for him.

From Sweeney’s admission to Linda Valley Care Center on April 4, 2016 until his discharge on May 4, 2016, it’s alleged that the facility failed to provide him with the medical and custodial care that he required, including leaving Sweeney in his urine and feces for extended periods of time, failing to provide him with adequate and proper personal hygiene, failing to turn and reposition him while he was in bed so as to relieve pressure from bony prominences, and failing to provide him with adequate nutrition and hydration so as to stave off skin breakdown.

The lawsuit states that when Sweeney was discharged, no one from the facility informed his family of any wounds, and in an attempt to fraudulently conceal the wounds, the facility’s staff nurse’s assistant covered the wounds with a sock just before discharge.

California law mandates that a skilled nursing facility shall provide nursing services which include an individual written plan of care, which indicates the care to be given and the objectives to be accomplished, and which shall be updated as frequently as necessary, including when a resident undergoes a change in condition. Based on Sweeney’s injuries and required hospital care, it’s evident the facility’s staff were unable to provide him with the care and interventions which were called for by the facility’s own Care Plan, and physician orders and assessments. It’s alleged that Sweeney’s injuries would not have occurred had the facility simply adhered to applicable rules, laws and regulations, as well as the acceptable standards of practice governing the operation of a skilled nursing facility.