Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Man with Dementia Falls and Dies Due to Negligence at Brea Senior Living Facility

Brea, Calif. — Sam Sanguedolce, a 91-year-old man suffering from dementia with sundowner’s syndrome, was admitted to Oakmont of Capriana because his wife could no longer care for him at home due to his medical conditions, which rendered him a high risk for falls and elopements, and required assistance with activities of daily living. The lawsuit states that after being made aware of Sanguedolce’s tendency for wandering and elopement, and corresponding heightened risk for falls and injury, the facility assured Sanguedolce’s family that it had the resources and sufficiently trained staff to care for him, and that he would receive necessary supervision and monitoring. Despite this promise and legal obligation to provide required care, it’s alleged Sanguedolce was left unsupervised, attempted to elope from the facility and suffered a fall that caused a fracture of his C1 vertebrae and a brain hemorrhage, which resulted in his death less than 48 hours after arriving at the facility.

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against Oakmont of Capriana for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Sam’s injuries and resulting death are another tragic example of Oakmont of Capriana’s systematic failure to monitor residents,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “The facility’s negligence has persisted for years even though it has continuously been warned and issued a plan of correction by the California Department of Social Services, which the facility’s administrator signs each time the facility is cited. These substantiated complaint investigations, surveys and deficiencies are a clear illustration of the facility’s intent to knowingly and deliberately withhold the care and treatment necessary to preserve the health and safety of its residents.”

Allegations and Background

The lawsuit states that Sanguedolce was left unattended during the duration of his residency in the facility and predictably, within twenty-four hours of admission, attempted to elope from the facility and suffered a traumatic fall.

On or about March 4, 2018, at approximately 9:00 a.m., the facility called Sanguedolce’s family informing them of his fall and that they transferred him from the facility to Placentia Linda Hospital via ambulance. Sanguedolce required a trauma unit, however, and was subsequently transferred to UC Irvine and diagnosed with a C1 vertebrae fracture and a brain hemorrhage. Upon arriving to UC Irvine, Sanguedolce’s family found him severely bruised with his nose bleeding, a swollen lip and head stitched closed.

Following notification of the fall in the facility, Sanguedolce’s family went to the facility requesting an Incident Report. The facility staff declined the request stating that they only had “in-house reports” rather than explaining that Sanguedolce had been setting off alarms and attempting to elope from the facility when he fell.

On or about March 4, 2018, at approximately 7:00 p.m., less than forty-eight hours after Sanguedolce’s admission to the facility, his family was informed that he had passed away after his blood pressure and oxygen levels had dropped.

Prior to Sanguedolce’s residency in the facility, and unbeknownst to his family, the California Department of Social Services repeatedly cited the facility for failing to provide resident care promised by the facility and mandated by applicable state regulations governing the operations of the facility. Further, in 2016 and 2017, the Department of Social Services issued Type “A” citations against the facility for identical regulatory violations in their dealings with Sanguedolce. Specifically, the Department of Social Services issued Type “A” citations against the facility for violating Title 22 California Code of Regulations §87705(b)(2), entitled “Care of Persons with Dementia” as follows:

  • September 26, 2016, the facility failed to prevent a dementia resident from wandering away from the facility and walking out of the facility front gate at around 3:30 a.m. due to delayed egress alarms in the dementia portion of the facility resulting in the dementia resident not being found by facility staff until 4:47 a.m.;
  • On February 27, 2017, the facility failed to prevent a dementia resident from wandering into another resident’s room and hitting the other resident on his head and face for no reason, resulting in injuries to the other resident.

In the above surveys, the facility was cited for falling short on the most basic functions in the administration of their care to residents.