Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman Suffers Untimely Death Due to Negligence at Upland Residential Care Facility
Upland, Calif. — Yong Ai Park was admitted to the Brentwood Elder Care for Women, suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, as well as a history of strokes, syncope, vertigo and falls that resulted in fractures. Upon admission to the facility, and despite her medical conditions, Park was able to move around with a walker and perform activities of daily living with limited assistance. Within a year of her admission, it’s alleged Park suffered an unnecessary, rapid and progressive decline, exhibiting symptoms of depression, and became dependent upon a wheelchair for ambulation. In July 2017, the lawsuit states Park was dropped in the facility during a transfer to/from her wheelchair. The facility staff concealed the incident for weeks until Park was discovered with severe bruising and pus-filled blisters covering her leg and hip. On August 3, 2017, Park was transferred from the facility to San Antonio Regional Hospital Upland and was discovered with a left hip a fracture, multiple severe Stage IV pressure ulcers on her tailbone and hip areas, aspiration pneumonia, severe dehydration and severe malnourishment, as well as other injuries, due to the facility’s alleged wrongful withholding of care. Park passed away in September 2017 as a direct result of the facility’s purposeful negligence.
Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against Brentwood Elder Care for Women for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.
“Yong Ai was forced to suffer unjustifiable pain and injuries because of Brentwood Elder Care for Women’s conscious inability to comply with state laws and regulations,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “The fact is, the facility should have never admitted Yong Ai and failed to perform a suitable evaluation in order to identify whether they were equipped and able to meet her needs. The pre-admission appraisal serves as an important document as it outlines a resident’s capabilities and limitations, and allows the facility to assess whether they can appropriately provide required medical and custodial care. Sadly, the facility saw an opportunity to make money off of Yong Ai and accepted her as a resident, while disregarding the risks that ultimately led to her injuries and untimely death.”
Allegations and Background
The lawsuit asserts that before and during Park’s residency at Brentwood Elder Care for Women, the facility was aware that Park was suffering conditions which precluded her lawful admission. As a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE), under California law, the facility is prohibited from admitting or retaining anyone who requires a level of care beyond that which may be provided in the non-medical facility. In addition, California regulations prohibit a RCFE from accepting and retaining a resident who requires 24-hour, skilled nursing or intermediate care.
Further, it’s alleged so as to unlawfully promote its profits, the facility admitted and retained Park as a resident even though they had not properly trained their staff in fall risk prevention and exposed her to extreme health and safety hazards. RCFE’s are not only required to conduct assessments of high-fall-risk residents, but are also required to update the assessments as frequently as necessary to determine the specific interventions that should be put in place to prevent a resident such as Park from suffering further falls. These interventions include innocuous interventions such as lap buddies, a device to prevent one from falling out of a wheelchair, and hip guards. The facility did not provide any such services or interventions to Park, notwithstanding that she required such services.
Through investigations, it was exposed that the injuries suffered by Park while a resident of the facility were the result of a plan to cut costs at the expense of their residents. The understaffing and lack of training plan was designed as a mechanism to reduce labor costs, and predictably and foreseeably, resulted in the failure to provide required medical and custodial care for many residents of the facility.