Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Develops Severe Bedsores, Dehydration & Infection Due to Valencia Residential Care Facility’s Negligence

Valencia, Calif. — Charlene Dettmann, an 86-year-old woman, was a resident of Trudez Home Care from 2013 to 2019. Dettmann suffered from dementia and other conditions that gradually worsened during her residency at the facility. The lawsuit states that by 2018, she needed a higher level of care than the non-medical facility could provide. It’s alleged that instead of transferring Dettmann to a skilled nursing home where she could get the 24-hour attention she required, the facility unlawfully retained her, resulting in Dettmann suffering injuries including Stage IV bedsores, dehydration, an infection and significant weight loss. Worsening matters, facility operators allegedly covered up Dettmann’s true condition from her family. As a result, Dettmann’s quality of life was severely impacted and she suffered unnecessary pain and injuries, and emotional trauma.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Trudez Home Care for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“As alleged in our lawsuit, Trudez Home Care recklessly and unlawfully retained Charlene as a resident rather than transferring her to a skilled nursing facility where her needs could, and would, be met,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Sadly, Charlene was deprived of needed care and services because facility staff were unable to provide her with necessary care and interventions, which were called for by physician orders and assessments, due to the insufficiency of staff in number, competence and training. Her injuries would not have occurred had the defendants complied with the acceptable standards of practice and guidelines governing the operations of a residential care facility for the elderly, which are designed to protect residents.”

Allegations and Background

In 2013, Dettmann was admitted to Trudez Home Care suffering from dementia and other conditions. During her residency, her conditions worsened and she became increasingly dependent for all activities of daily living.

By 2018, Dettmann’s physical and mental abilities had worsened to the point that she was no longer legally suitable for retention in a non-medical residential care facility. However, the lawsuit alleges that the facility retained Dettmann as a resident, which is in violation of the law, rather than transferring her to a skilled nursing facility where her needs could be met.

The lawsuit alleges that as a consequence of the facility unlawfully retaining Dettmann, she was deprived of much needed proper skilled nursing and medical care to address her risk of skin breakdown and pressure sores. It further alleges that the facility was well aware that without proper care, which included turning and repositioning her body, keeping her clean and dry, and providing adequate nutrition and hydration, there was a high probability she would suffer injury, which, sadly, she did.

As a direct result of the facility’s failure to provide Dettmann with care and interventions to stave off skin breakdown, she developed horrific pressure ulcers, the lawsuit alleges. Compounding matters, the facility concealed the breakdown to Dettmann’s skin from her family. The Complaint states that to advance its fraudulent cover-up scheme, the facility engaged the services of home health agencies owned and operated by the facility’s parent company. As a result of this continued withholding of care and cover-up, Dettmann’s condition continued to deteriorate.

In December 2018, Dettmann’s family went on vacation, relying on the facility’s promises that Dettmann’s medical needs would be met. While her family was away, it was the facility’s responsibility to keep them apprised of her health status. The facility failed Dettmann and her family in this regard, according to the lawsuit.

On January 2, 2019, Dettmann’s family returned from vacation. When they arrived at the facility that same day, they were shocked by Dettmann’s condition. She was dehydrated and had lost significant weight.

Again, rather than transfer her to a higher level of care to address her emergent conditions, the facility continued to unlawfully retain her, as alleged in the lawsuit. Relying on the false promises from the facility to provide Dettmann with appropriate nutrition and fluids, Dettmann’s family kept her in the facility.

On January 3, 2019, Dettmann’s family received a call from a hospice nurse stating that Dettmann was not able to receive fluids and nutrition through an IV or tube feeding. In response, the family demanded that the facility immediately transfer her to a hospital.

The lawsuit alleges that instead of following the express directive of her family, the facility delayed transferring Dettmann. To explain its unlawful refusal to transfer her, the facility’s owner told the family that Dettmann had pressure sores. This was the first time her family had received any notification of her skin breakdown.

Later that same day, Dettmann was finally taken to a hospital where she was found to have multiple Stage IV pressure sores on her body, including on her heels and coccyx area. She was also severely dehydrated and had a horrific infection.

On January 23, 2019, Dettmann was discharged from the hospital to a skilled nursing home and never returned to the facility. The lawsuit alleges that the abuse and neglect she suffered at the facility caused unnecessary and prolonged suffering for both Dettmann and her family.