Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Suffers Malnutrition and Dehydration at Lake Forest Nursing Facility

Lake Forest, Calif. – Dorothy Bass, an 82-year-old woman, was admitted to Lake Forest Nursing Center following a pacemaker placement procedure. She was entrusted to the facility for continuation of care and rehabilitation. However, the complaint alleges that the facility accepted responsibility for Bass even while knowing that they did not have the resources or staff to provide her with proper care. As a result of Lake Forest Nursing Center’s neglect of the basic needs of Bass, she suffered from significant weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition.

Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Lake Forest Nursing Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Dorothy Bass’ daughter entrusted Lake Forest Nursing Center with her mother’s health for the simple task of providing post-operative care and protecting her from injuries,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Instead, it appears from the facts as presently known that Lake Forest Nursing Center failed to provide Dorothy with the care she paid for. Simply stated, Lake Forest charged top dollar for care and then failed to hire and retain sufficient and competent staff consistent with California regulations enacted to protect the health and safety of our elders such as Dorothy, and as a predictable result, and as is so often the case where a business places profits over the needs of people, Dorothy was left to suffer life-threatening injuries.”

Allegations and Background

In early 2017, Bass suffered a fall resulting in a head injury. Upon discharge from the hospital, she was admitted to Lake Forest Nursing Center for rehabilitation. She remained at the facility for approximately two weeks before returning home.

According to the lawsuit, on March 23, 2017, Bass underwent a permanent pacemaker placement procedure due to her significant heart complications. After the surgery, she was readmitted to Lake Forest Nursing Center for continuation of care and rehabilitation. The facility readmitted Bass fully aware of her conditions and knowing that she would require extensive assistance with all her activities of daily living, including eating, drinking, grooming, toileting and administering medications.

The facility stated that it was aware of the vulnerable condition Bass was in and was sufficiently staffed to manage her care. However, the lawsuit alleges that the facility staff did not administer Bass’ medications in a timely manner, or assist her with eating, and constantly left necessary items out of her reach.

Over the course of the following three weeks, Bass’ daughter and other residents allegedly witnessed the facility withhold required care. On countless occasions, staff members ignored Bass as she agonized in severe pain, begging the facility for help.

In April 2017, less than three weeks after her readmission to Lake Forest Nursing Center, Bass’ daughter insisted that her mother be sent to the hospital due to her declining condition. The lawsuit alleges that Bass had lost more than ten pounds, could barely speak, and could no longer eat or sit up. She was constantly lethargic and moaning in severe pain. At the hospital, doctors diagnosed Bass with severe dehydration, for which they administered intravenous fluids for.

Bass was transferred back to the facility where it is alleged that the negligence continued unabated. Her health continued to decline and she made no progress with her physical therapy sessions. Her daughter requested that the facility’s physician discontinue narcotics and unnecessary medications, according to the lawsuit.

After the physician allegedly discontinued administered narcotics, Bass exhibited significant improvement in her mental status. To date, Bass is still a resident of Lake Forest Nursing Center, as she has no other viable housing option.