Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Dies After Traumatic Fall in Santa Clara Nursing Facility

Santa Clara, Calif. — Shirley Burris, an elderly woman suffering from congestive heart failure and dementia, was admitted to Pacific Hills Manor following a fall in her home that resulted in a spinal fracture specifically for rehabilitation and to prevent additional falls and injury. Unfortunately, Pacific Hills Manor did not provide Burris with the legally mandated supervision or fall prevention measures and allowed Burris to suffer the very fall the facility was meant to protect her from suffering. The fall suffered by Shirley as the result of the ignorance of her needs by Pacific Hills Manor caused Shirley to suffer a fractured femur and a displaced hip. Shirley was rushed to the hospital before returning to the facility, where she subsequently lost more than 25 pounds in a single month before being placed into hospice care, where she remained until she died a few weeks later.

Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Pacific Hills Manor for elder abuse and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Rather than providing the required care to address the conditions for which Shirley was admitted to Pacific Hills Manor in the first place, it’s clear that the facility’s staff substantially ignored her needs and withheld required care so as to allow and cause her to suffer a preventable fall,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “She was not afforded even basic fall prevention devices, or supervision, which could have prevented this tragedy. Unfortunately, because of the lack of care driven by a culture of putting profits over patients, the facility’s apparent neglect caused Shirley extensive injuries that resulted in excruciating pain, and ultimately her untimely death.”

Allegations and Background

The lawsuit states that in the spring of 2015, Burris fell and fractured her spine at her home, and was taken to the hospital. In June 2015, she was admitted to Pacific Hills Manor. When the facility admitted Burris, it’s alleged that they were fully aware from their own assessment, family information and physician notes that she suffered from various conditions, including dementia, congestive heart failure and a history of falls.

The lawsuit alleges that Burris was admitted to Pacific Hills Manor specifically to prevent her from suffering additional falls and exacerbating her existing conditions. However, in June 2017, it’s alleged that while residing at Pacific Hills Manor, Burris suffered a preventable and traumatic fall, resulting in a head injury. After her roommate got the attention of the staff and they found her lying on the bathroom floor, Burris was rushed to the emergency room, where doctors found that she fractured her right femur and displaced her hip.

Following the fall, the lawsuit states that Burris returned to Pacific Hills Manor where, she suffered a significant weight loss of 25-30 pounds in just one month. After her health declined, Burris was placed into hospice care. Unfortunately, her injuries proved to be too much, and Burris died a few weeks later.