Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Develops Massive Bedsore, Suffers Brain Bleed & Detached Retina Due to Fountain Valley Nursing Home’s Negligence; She Dies Just Weeks After Leaving the Facility
Fountain Valley, Calif. — Ana Maria Zayas, a 93-year-old woman, was admitted to ManorCare Health Services for custodial care and rehabilitation following hospitalization. It’s alleged that during her short stay there, Zayas, who was dependent upon facility staff for all daily activities of living, developed a deep, golf-ball-sized bedsore on her coccyx due to the substandard care she received. She also suffered from a serious eye issue that was ignored and turned out to be a detached retina. Additionally, she fell and hit her head when a staff member incompetently left her unsecured. Shockingly, the facility did not report the fall or resulting large hematoma to her family or doctor, according to the lawsuit. When the injury was finally discovered, Zayas was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with bleeding in her brain. Approximately six weeks after the fall, Zayas passed away.
Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against ManorCare Health Services for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“Regrettably, to the detriment of residents, it appears facility managers knowingly understaffed ManorCare in both numbers and competency focusing instead on their own earnings. This systematic withholding of quality care made the likelihood of Ana being injured not only probable, but inevitable,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “The facility has been repeatedly issued deficiencies by the Department of Public Health for failing to provide adequate patient care, and despite making promises to remedy the serious issues, operators simply continue their scheme alleged in the Complaint to warehouse as many residents as possible to make more money rather than focusing on required care.”
Allegations and Background
In November 2017, Zayas was admitted to ManorCare Health Services for rehabilitation after hospitalization at Garden Grove Hospital. Upon admission to the facility, Zayas had discolored skin on her coccyx area.
In early January 2018, the skin breakdown on her coccyx had deteriorated into a deep, golf-ball-sized pressure sore. The lawsuit alleges that when confronted by Zayas’ family about the wound, facility management personnel falsely stated that the pressure sore was present on admission. Only thereafter did facility staff provide Zayas with a specialty air mattress and wound care to address her risk of pressure sore development.
Unfortunately, the substandard care suffered by Zayas was not limited to issues concerning her skin integrity, according to the lawsuit. By January 2018, Zayas had also suffered a significant and continual vision decline despite her family’s repeated requests for facility staff to arrange for Zayas to see an eye doctor. The wrongful withholding of eye care continued until her family became so concerned for her health that they were compelled to make the necessary arrangements themselves.
On February 6, 2018, Zayas was finally taken to UCI Medical Center where hospital personnel discovered she had a detached retina as well as a severe infection.
On February 10, 2018, Zayas was readmitted to the facility. Upon her return, facility staff were well aware that Zayas was dependent for all activities of daily living, and required assistance and interventions to prevent falls and associated injuries. However, the lawsuit alleges, the facility did not put a care plan in place to prevent Zayas from falling.
Predictably, on February 13, 2018, after a series of near misses and actual falls, Zayas fell out of bed after a facility staff member allegedly left her lying sideways unsecured. Her air mattress had suddenly inflated, causing her to roll to the floor near her bedside, which resulted in a hematoma on her head.
After the fall, the facility failed to notify her family or attending physician about the incident. Instead, the facility simply wrapped an icepack around Zayas’ head and waited for her family to find the injury themselves, the lawsuit alleges.
During their next visit, Zayas’ family found her to be unusually lethargic and unable to communicate. According to the lawsuit, the facility had yet to notify them about the fall, but told her family not to remove the cloth wrapped around her head. This cover-up continued until Zayas’ eyes rolled back into her head. At that point, her family became so concerned for her health that they removed the head wrap to discover a huge knot on Zayas’ forehead. Upon the discovery, Zayas’ family directed the facility to call 911 to have her transported to a hospital.
Incredibly, the facility refused, forcing the family to call 911 themselves, the lawsuit alleges. After more delays by the facility, Zayas was finally taken to UCI Medical Center where further evaluation revealed a brain bleed.
On February 16, 2018, the hospital discharged Zayas to her home. She never returned to the facility.
Sadly, on March 29, 2018, Zayas passed away. She had spent the remainder of her life enduring the painful injuries caused by the accumulated and consistent withholding of care and services by the facility, the lawsuit alleges. Despite her advanced age and conditions, her quality of life was greatly impacted by the lack of quality medical care and interventions she received. The abuse and neglect caused unnecessary and prolonged suffering for both Zayas and her family.