Lawsuit Filed: Elderly Woman with Dementia Subjected to Years of Neglect at Escondido Nursing Facility; Suffers Severe Falls, Infections & Physical Altercations

Escondido, Calif. — Naomi Davis, an elderly woman with dementia, was admitted to Oakmont of Escondido Hills after hospitalization for pneumonia, UTI and shingles, during which she was placed on a 5150 psychiatric hold and spent time in the ICU. Upon admission to the facility, Davis was admitted to the locked/secure Memory Care Unit portion due to the 5150 incident at the hospital and to receive specialized services, including trained staff able to care for residents with behavioral needs. It’s alleged that during Davis’ residency, the facility consistently withheld required care and services which led to her suffering multiple severe falls, UTIs and pneumonia, becoming increasingly agitated and having combative, physical altercations with staff and other residents, among other injuries. Davis was eventually admitted to a different facility and never returned to Oakmont of Escondido Hills. After leaving Oakmont of Escondido Hills, Davis has not experienced any fall incidents. Her memory has also returned and she is again able to recognize her family.

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against Oakmont of Escondido Hills for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“As a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly, Oakmont of Escondido Hills was legally required to not only conduct assessments of high fall risk residents, but also to update the assessments as frequently as necessary to determine the specific interventions that should be put in place to prevent a resident from suffering further falls,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “These interventions include lap buddies to prevent one from falling out of a wheelchair, hip guards, bed alarms and low beds to mitigate the impact of falls out of bed. It’s alleged the facility did not provide any such services or interventions to Naomi and as a result, she was forced to suffer unjustifiable pain and suffering for years. The facility knew that non-compliance with regulatory requirements would result in a high probability of harm to residents, including Naomi, but nonetheless, consciously disregarded these requirements and exposed her to extreme health and safety hazards.”

Allegations and Background

Davis was admitted to Oakmont of Escondido Hills in 2014 suffering from a myriad of medical conditions, including a history of infections, bowel and bladder incontinence, asthma and dementia, all of which rendered her particularly vulnerable to health and safety hazards, such as falls, resident-to-resident and resident-to-staff altercations, elopement incidents, and resulted in injury, pain and suffering. It’s alleged each of these conditions and issues concerning the health and safety of Davis, including the prior 5150 psychiatric hold, were explained to the facility before the start of her residency.

From October 2014 to 2016, it’s alleged the facility failed to carry out their care custodian reporting obligations of suspected elder abuse and neglect. Throughout this time, the only reports received by Davis’ daughter regarding her mother’s health status were false representations that Davis was “fine,” “doing well,” and that she was “okay.”

In 2016, Davis suffered multiple fall incidents. The same year, Davis was hospitalized and her diagnosis was changed by the facility physician to mild dementia. In May 2016, Davis was noted “occasionally forgetful,” having “difficulty in remembering simple details,” needing “prompting and orienting” and being “verbally disruptive, yelling, foul language, abusive comments towards others.”

In 2017, Davis’ daughter received reports that Davis was acting combatively and aggressively. One report alleged that Davis was acting out and aggressive with staff. These reports confused Davis’ daughter because she had never witnessed her mother behaving this way. The reports were also confusing because she never previously received any reports regarding such changes to her mother’s condition and behaviors.

After receiving the reports regarding her mother’s agitated and combative behaviors, Davis’ daughter sent her mother to a Poway geriatric psychiatric hospital for evaluation. There, severe bruising was discovered on Davis’ side/ribs area. This was the first time Davis’ daughter was informed of these bruises on her mother’s body; no one from the facility had reported to Davis’ daughter any recent unusual incidents involving her mother. Later, Davis’ daughter discovered that the bruising was from an alleged incident when a staff member snatched Davis’ dinner tray because she was taking too long to finish eating.

In August 2017, the facility allegedly placed Davis on psychiatric medications without notifying her daughter. In fact, the medication regimen administered by the facility to Davis was only discovered during a hospitalization. There, Davis went into respiratory arrest and was coded after the hospital staff administered Ativan because it was on the medication list provided by the facility.

In October 2017, Davis suffered another fall in the facility resulting in a fractured elbow. She was sent to Palomar Escondido Hospital and was placed in a cast which she was required to wear for three months. Her discharge orders upon return to the facility indicated follow-up visits with her orthopedist. On one occasion, Davis missed an appointment because the facility sent her to the wrong orthopedist.

In November 2017, Davis was noted still “occasionally forgetful,” having “difficulty in remembering simple details,” needing “prompting and orienting” and being “verbally disruptive, yelling, foul language, abusive comments towards others.”

By November 2017, Davis had suffered more falls at the facility. Her records from this time note her need for “a fall management program.”

By end of 2017, Davis had been hospitalized multiple times for multiple urinary tract infections, pneumonia as well as falls. On one occasion, hospital staff informed Davis’ daughter that the facility was not bathing her.

By early 2018, Davis exhibited increasingly psychotic behaviors. Unbeknownst to her family, facility staff had been administering her mother an unauthorized medication regimen, including Ativan, Depakote, Neurontin, Gavopantin and Lorazepam. Davis’ daughter was never notified of these alterations to her medication regimen.

In January 2018, Davis was involved in an unwitnessed physical altercation with her roommate, who was also a dementia resident. Before this time, the facility had yet to put in place a bed alarm for Davis. It’s alleged the facility only placed a bed alarm for Davis after the unwitnessed physical resident-to-resident altercation. The lawsuit states the facility only put in place Davis’ bed alarm to appease the other resident’s family who reported the resident-to-resident altercation to the State Ombudsman.

On January 29, 2018, Davis’ daughter and facility Executive Director, Melissa Dressler, met to discuss Davis’ “behavioral incidents” before the resident-to-resident altercation with her roommate. By this time, Davis had been involved in nine physical altercations with other residents and staff on 11/24/16, 12/14/16, 1/8/2017, 5/2/2017, 7/25/2017, 8/16/2017, 1/23/2018, 1/24/2018 and 1/26/2018.

In February 2018, Davis suffered another fall, this time in a parking lot. By the time Davis’ daughter was informed of the incident, Davis was vomiting all day. When Davis’ daughter requested facility staff send her mother to the hospital, the facility allegedly denied her request.

Thereafter, Davis’ daughter requested the physician to transfer her mother to check for a brain bleed. During this hospital stay, Davis’ daughter was informed that her mother had suffered a fall within the past two months. The fall resulted in lacerations to her ear for which she was provided stitching. This was the first time Davis’ daughter was informed of this fall.

On April 20, 2018, Davis was transferred to Palomar Medical Center. Davis’ records from this hospitalization confirm her multiple falls, chemical restraints, recurrent urinary tract infections and dementia. She was then transferred to a different facility.