Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Suffers Three Traumatic Falls in One Day, Resulting in a Hip Fracture and Surgery

La Mesa, Calif. – Eleanor Nowling, an 89-year-old woman with dementia and a known history of falls, was admitted to Grossmont Hospital due to her high blood pressure, urinary tract infection and episodes of combativeness. The complaint alleges that the hospital accepted responsibility for Nowling even while knowing that it did not have the skilled staff or resources to provide her with proper care. As a result of Grossmont Hospital’s alleged inadequate care and neglect, and just five days after her admission to the hospital, she fell three times on the same day. The falls resulted in a serious hip fracture that required hip replacement surgery. Since the surgery, Nowling’s overall condition has apparently continued to rapidly decline; she allegedly experiences severe delusions and paranoia, cannot recognize family members and is unable to eat.

Garcia & Artigliere & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Grossmont Hospital for elder abuse.

“Rather than providing the required care to address the conditions for which Eleanor was transferred to Grossmont Hospital 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 multiple falls in one day,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Unfortunately, because of the lack of care driven by a culture of putting profits over patients, the hospital’s neglect caused Eleanor to suffer falls that should never have happened and that caused her excruciating pain, and ultimately, her ability to walk. The hospital’s attempt to cover up the falls further exacerbated her injuries.”

Allegations and Background

In early May 2017, Nowling, who had a history of falling and suffered from dementia, was hospitalized at Grossmont Hospital. Five days after being admitted, she allegedly fell three times in one day, resulting in a fractured hip requiring hip replacement surgery. The lawsuit states that since the falls and surgery, Nowling’s condition has increasingly deteriorated.

According to the lawsuit, Nowling was taken to the hospital because she was unusually combative. She also had high blood pressure and a urinary tract infection. When the facility admitted Nowling, it’s alleged that they were fully aware from the hospital’s own assessment, family information and physician notes and orders that she had a high risk of falling and even installed alarms on Nowling’s bed. However, the lawsuit states that despite being aware of Nowling’s high risk of falling, Grossmont Hospital did not provide the 24-hour monitoring and supervision she required, including the necessary staff to respond to the bed alarms, help with walking and assistance with other aspects of daily living. Not surprisingly, just five days after being admitted, Nowling fell three times in the same day.

The hospital allegedly did not conduct x-rays of Nowling’s hip until after her third fall and then attempted to cover up the falls. Nowling was also allegedly not checked for head injuries. Once the facility’s staff finally performed the x-rays, they showed a serious hip fracture that required surgery, which Nowling underwent the following day. Since the surgery, the lawsuit alleges that her overall condition has continued to decline. She now experiences severe paranoia, delusions and other changes in behavior.