Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Found Dead After Consuming Skin Cleanser

Sun City, Calif. — Rita Powell, who suffered from diabetes, dementia and chronic kidney disease, and was on doctor’s orders to refrain from drinking thin liquids due to her high risk for aspiration, was found deceased in her bed at Sunny Rose Glen Assisted Living and Memory Care, after allegedly consuming a bottle of perineal skin cleanser left on her bedside table.

Garcia & Artigliere & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Sunny Rose Glen Assisted Living and Memory Care for elder abuse, including negligence and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Rita was hospitalized multiple times for staph infections and dehydration, and was suffering from serious dementia when she was entrusted to the care of Sunny Rose Glen Assisted Living and Memory Care. The facility charged, and ensured they were paid a significant amount of money, to simply care for Rita and prevent her from suffering precisely that which ultimately killed her. It is shameful that Sunny Rose Glen Assisted Living and Memory Care was paid all the money they demanded and just ignored the real needs of Rita. The fact of the matter is that Sunny Rose Glen Assisted Living and Memory Care should have never admitted, let alone retained Rita to stay in that facility,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Sadly, from the evidence we presently possess, it appears that despite being fully aware of the comprehensive level of care Rita required, Sunny Rose Glen Assisted Living and Memory Care ignored her needs and withheld required care, all the while taking payment, which ultimately resulted in her death.”

Allegations and Background

According to the lawsuit, Powell began residing at Sunny Glen Rose Assisted Living and Memory Care in September 2016.  At the time of her admission, she was bedridden, diabetic, and suffering from kidney disease and dementia. Powell also had multiple illnesses, including a history pneumonia, multiple UTIs, hyperglycemia, difficulty swallowing, malnutrition and dehydration.

The lawsuit alleges that Powell was repeatedly accepted back into the facility even though a non-medical Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE), such as Sunny Glen Rose Assisted Living, could not legally admit or retain residents with her conditions. Because Powell had been a resident of the facility on multiple occasions, the staff was well-aware of the higher level of care she required.

As a result of the facility’s alleged negligence, Powell was left unattended in her room, where a bottle of perineal skin cleanser, which is normally used to cleanse the skin of urine and fecal matter, was left on her bedside table.

The lawsuit states that because Powell suffered from dementia, coupled with her dehydration, she unknowingly consumed the skin cleanser. The facility allegedly concealed the incident from both Powell’s family and physician.

Powell was later hospitalized with a staph infection and dehydration, and lost approximately 80 pounds. Unfortunately, these injuries coupled with the ingestion of perineal skin cleaner were too much for Powell to overcome, resulting in her death on March 10, 2017.