Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Patient Left Unattended Suffers Serious Fall

Torrance, Calif. – After suffering from a fractured hip that required surgery, Zolee Lewis was transferred to Sunnyside Nursing Center for rehabilitation and physical therapy. It’s alleged that the facility accepted responsibility for Lewis even though they did not have enough staff to manage her care. Allegedly, instead of protecting Lewis from further falls and injury, the facility overmedicated her and left her unattended, which led to a serious fall.

Garcia & Artigliere & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Sunnyside Nursing Center for elder abuse.

“Sunnyside Nursing Center certainly knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that they did not have the resources or trained staff available to fulfill their promises. However, they allegedly had no intention to provide the care and supervision they assured to Zolee,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “The complaint alleges, and the facts appear to support that Sunnyside Nursing Center neglected Zolee in complete violation of the regulations governing the operations of a nursing facility.”

Allegations and Background

On February 28, 2017, Lewis fell while she was living at home and underwent surgery at Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center to repair her hip. Five days later, on March 4, 2017, she was admitted to Sunnyside Nursing Center for rehabilitation and physical therapy following her orthopedic surgery.

Upon her admission, the lawsuit states that the facility was clearly advised of Lewis’ condition, including severe dementia and a history of falls. Due to her conditions, Lewis also had a propensity to forget that she was unable to get up without assistance. In fact, the lawsuit alleges that the precise reason Lewis was admitted to the facility was to protect her from further falls and exacerbation of her already existing hip injury. However, over the following four days, the facility allegedly ignored Lewis’ needs.

The lawsuit states that Lewis’ family visited the facility almost every day and during their visits, no staff members ever cared for Lewis. Her family was left to do almost everything for her, including repositioning, feeding and bathing her. Allegedly, when Lewis’ family asked a staff member to take her to the bathroom, the staff member refused, stating that Lewis had a diaper that she could urinate and defecate in.

On March 5, 2017, staff failed to give Lewis the medication that she had been prescribed to assist her sleep. The lawsuit states that when questioned, staff told her family that they did not want to overmedicate her because they were already administering pain pills. The next day, when Lewis continued to have difficulty sleeping, her family again inquired about the Seroquel, which the facility allegedly denied they were authorized to administer, yet they accepted responsibility knowing she was prescribed this medication for years.

Days later, Lewis was hallucinating, delusional and seemed to be having a manic episode. Her family reported Lewis’ condition to the staff, but they kept reiterating that they did not administer Seroquel.

The lawsuit alleges that on March 8, 2017, Lewis attended a physical therapy session, and on her way back, a staff member left her unattended in a wheelchair. Due to her dementia, Lewis attempted to stand up without assistance, and fell onto the floor. Though she was in tremendous pain, the lawsuit alleges that a staff member picked her up and placed her back into bed. Nearly two painful hours later, Lewis was finally transferred to the hospital.

After her treatment at the hospital, when she was to be readmitted to the facility over the family’s objections, the facility allegedly stated that she could not return because they were not equipped to handle residents like her.