Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Suffers Multiple Infections Due to Negligence at Torrance Nursing Facility; Facility Previously Sued for Elder Abuse

Torrance, Calif. – Ora Dee Johnson, an 80-year-old woman with a history of brain tumors, was admitted to Royalwood Care Center, a 24-hour skilled nursing facility, following a stroke that resulted in left side paralysis. Over the course of her residency, it’s alleged that Johnson’s family continually requested needed medical assistance, which the facility repeatedly ignored. As a result, Johnson suffered from severe dehydration, multiple infections, including double pneumonia, sepsis, and urinary tract infection, a Stage II+ pressure sore on her coccyx area, as well as other injuries.

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Royalwood Care Center for dependent abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“This is not the first time we have been forced to bring a number of actions against Royalwood Care Center to attempt to correct the facility’s behavior,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “In fact, in a previous lawsuit we filed against the facility, the California Department of Public Health conducted an investigation of Royalwood Care Center and issued Class AA Citations, determining that the facility failed to provide a resident with necessary care and emergency services. It’s clear from the California Department of Public Health’s findings, Royalwood Care Center violated a myriad of federal regulations governing the operations of the facility. We intend to prove the facility knowingly acted in a manner that would cut costs at the expense of its residents, including Ora.”

Allegations and Background

The lawsuit states that on March 16, 2017, Johnson was admitted to Royalwood Care Center from Centinela Hospital for rehabilitation. Upon admission, the facility’s staff was aware that Johnson suffered from significant conditions, including a history of brain tumor surgeries and limited mobility, rendering her a high risk for infections. As a result, she was dependent upon the assistance of others to perform activities of daily living and required special and necessary care to prevent infections, as well as emergency care and services when her condition changed due to infection.

In or about late October of 2017, Johnson developed pneumonia. According to the lawsuit, she was transferred to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, where her family was informed that the facility’s staff had been administering her Norco, despite her documented medication allergies and physician orders. She was placed on antibiotics before being discharged back to Royalwood Care Center.

On December 25, 2017, Johnson’s family found her unresponsive, with her eyes rolled back, and her face and mouth covered in vomit. When Johnson’s sons asked facility staff about Johnson’s vitals, the staff stated their last assessment was “normal.” Johnson’s oxygen levels, however, indicated the contrary and that she needed emergency care, yet, Royalwood Care Center still declined in blatant disregard of her family’s express directive.

The lawsuit states that with the facility’s staff wrongfully withholding lifesaving required care, Johnson’s sons called 911. Johnson was taken to Little Company of Mary Hospital, where her discharge vitals taken by the emergency medical technicians showed Johnson had a fever over 103 degrees. Johnson was also diagnosed with the flu, double pneumonia, severe dehydration, sepsis, E. coli in her urine and a severe Stage II coccyx pressure sore. The hospital physicians told Johnson’s family that she had no less than three different infections, which were so severe that Johnson was placed on isolation precautions. Johnson was then transferred to Brotman Hospital for several weeks of additional treatment before returning to Royalwood Care Center.