Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Suffers Fatal Fall in La Habra Nursing Facility

Orange County, Calif. – Maria Ortiz, a 76-year-old woman, was transferred to Park Regency Care, LLC due to progressing Alzheimer’s and a recent stroke that left her paralyzed on the right side of her body. The facility admitted Ortiz fully aware of her medical conditions, including a propensity to wander and a high risk for falls; however, the lawsuit alleges that as a result of the facility’s negligence, Ortiz suffered from severe neglect, and was chemically restrained. As a result of being dangerously overmedicated and left unsupervised, she suffered a fatal fall.

Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Park Regency Care, LLC for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“When Maria entered Park Regency Care, the facility was well-aware of her medical history, but it appears that throughout the course of her stay, Maria’s needs were completely ignored,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “This is especially troubling as this facility has been repeatedly issued deficiencies by the Department of Public Health for failing to provide its residents the care promised. Unfortunately, the facility’s staff apparently sees this all as the price of doing business. They chose to sedate Ortiz and profit from her rather than provide the care she required and paid good money for.”

Allegations and Background

According to the lawsuit, Ortiz was admitted to Park Regency Care, LLC in March 2017 for rehabilitation and care after being discharged from a hospital where she was treated for weakness and an abnormal gait.

It is alleged that upon admission to the facility, the facility’s staff was informed through assessment information, family information and physician’s notes, that Ortiz was at high risk for falls, suffered from Alzheimer’s that led her to wander if left unattended, had a history of strokes, was paralyzed on one side of her body, and was confined to a wheelchair. Therefore, she required 24-hour supervision and monitoring, including assistance with ambulation and other activities of daily living, as well as the implementation of interventions to prevent falls.

The complaint states that the facility failed to take any preventative measures that would mitigate the risk of Ortiz suffering a traumatic fall. It is alleged that Ortiz soon after her admittance to the facility, Ortiz suffered a fall, and the facility failed to notify her physician or family. The lawsuit states that Ortiz suffered a second, fatal fall at the facility less than a month later. It is alleged that the fall occurred because Ortiz was allegedly chemically restrained with excessive and unnecessary medications, and left unsupervised.

It is further alleged that the staff failed to notify Ortiz’s family or physicians after she suffered the second fall, instead placing her back in bed while the significant head trauma resulted in brain hemorrhaging and blood clotting.

Ortiz was transferred to a hospital, where she was found to have bruises covering her ankles and arms. Blood clots and hemorrhaging proved too much for Ortiz, and she died on May 12, 2017.