Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Develops Pressure Sore Requiring Surgery Due to Negligence at Gardena Nursing Facility

Gardena, Calif. — Geneva Ingram, an 80-year-old woman with dementia and insulin-dependent diabetes, was admitted to Gardena Convalescent Center for rehabilitation following treatment at Martin Luther King Hospital for a torn ligament from a fall at home. Ingram’s significant conditions and limitations left her bedridden and increasingly sedentary in nature, and as a result, she needed full assistance with activities of daily living and special interventions to address her substantial risk for pressure sores. During her stay in the facility, it’s alleged the facility repeatedly withheld necessary care from Ingram, including leaving her in urine and feces for extended periods of time, failing to provide her with adequate and proper personal hygiene, and failing to turn and reposition her in bed. This resulted in Ingram developing a horrific Stage IV pressure sore the size of a fist and deep enough to expose bone. Ingram was consequently transferred to Gardena Memorial where she underwent surgical debridement of therapy and poster-operative vacuum-assisted closure therapy.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Gardena Convalescent Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Geneva entered Gardena Convalescent Center with clear skin and absent of any pressure sores, but within just a short time, she was allowed to suffer the exact injuries she paid the facility a substantial amount of money to prevent,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “It’s apparent the facility was so woefully understaffed, in both number and training, and this stretched the facility beyond its abilities and caused direct harm to Geneva. It’s our belief that facility management established and implemented a financial scheme which led to the facility being understaffed, by imposing financial limitations and setting financial budgets which clearly did not allow for sufficient resources to be provided to Geneva or other residents.”

Allegations and Background

The lawsuit asserts that no one from the facility informed Ingram’s family, physician or legal representative about the development of her severe pressure sore and other injuries, or what was being done to treat them. In an unfortunate effort to conceal the facility’s failure to provide required care, facility nurses simply hid these conditions from Ingram’s family, physician and legal representative, and untruthfully stated that nothing was wrong. This failure to provide required care and failure to bring these conditions to the attention of Ingram’s family, physician and legal representative was a direct result of the chronic understaffing at the facility in both number and training. Ingram’s injuries were entirely preventable had there been sufficient staff on duty to actually implement the protections required by the facility’s own Plan of Care, and physician orders and assessments for Ingram.

Additionally, pursuant to the last filing submitted by the facility with the State of California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) in the reporting period through December 31, 2016, the facility either siphoned $524,190 in payments to or for unspecified services as it relates to the facility managing the facility itself, or, and as is more likely the case, the facility paid $524,190 to Defendant College Health Enterprises, Inc., through something called “INTERCO – CHE” for the provision of limited to no services. The facility also paid $156,000 to College Health Enterprises, Inc. for non-existent “Management & Accounting” services rather than providing these funds to the facility operations to comply with law. Finally, as a further mechanism to ensure unlawful profit at the expense of the legally mandated minimum care to be provided to residents of the facility, the facility and the management defendants unlawfully siphoned off cash which should have been devoted to resident care as a matter of law, by paying to “Weiss Enterprises,” as the owner of the land upon which the facility sits, a grossly inflated and well over market rent of $240,000. This was an alleged mechanism by which the management defendants control the actual fiscal operations of each of their skilled nursing facilities and just pull out cash how and when they want, irrespective of the purported, illusory and non-existent fiscal independence of the facility.