Lawsuit Filed: Negligent Nursing Home Has Deadly Consequences for Elderly Woman

Los Angeles, Calif. Betty Gauss, an 81-year-old woman, was admitted to Horizon Health and Subacute Center in March 2017 for rehabilitation after a stroke. Unfortunately, it’s alleged that rather than providing Gauss with the care she paid for and which the facility promised, the staff failed to provide her with sufficient care to prevent sores, and she developed a significant wound on her sacrum just two weeks after being admitted to the facility. The sore quickly worsened and grew to nine inches wide – Gauss’ tailbone was visible through it, and Betty had to be hospitalized to treat it. Gauss died in June 2017, allegedly due to preventable issues, including sepsis, a urinary tract infection and a pressure sore, which all originated at the facility.

Garcia & Artigliere & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Horizon Health and Subacute Center for elder abuse and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Based on what we know now, Betty’s horrific injuries would not have occurred had Horizon Health and Subacute Center adhered to applicable rules, laws and regulations, as well as the acceptable standard of practice governing the operation of a skilled nursing facility,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “Instead, as is so often the case where a business puts profits over people, further injury and even tragedy occurs. Betty was left to deteriorate and she ultimately paid with her life. It is a shame that Betty spent her last months without the care she deserved.”

Allegations and Background

Gauss was transferred to Horizon Health and Subacute Center in March 2017 for rehabilitation following a stroke. Due to the stroke, Gauss was experiencing swallowing issues, in addition to her history of Alzheimer’s and recurrent infections. The lawsuit states that she required assistance with activities of daily living, including eating, bathing and ambulating, and her family arranged for her to have a PEG feeding tube to ensure she was getting enough nutrition.

However, the lawsuit alleges that Gauss did not receive the care she needed by failing to perform basic duties correctly, including using pressure-reducing devices to prevent bedsores, ensuring that Betty had adequate nutrition and hydration, and regularly administering necessary antibiotics and other medication.

Just two weeks after entering the facility, Gauss allegedly developed a pressure sore on her sacrum, but her medical needs continued to be ignored. The sore progressively worsened to stage IV and Betty had to be hospitalized.

The lawsuit states Gauss’ family arranged for her to be transferred to another skilled nursing facility after her hospitalization, turning down an offer from Horizon Health for free round-the-clock care to make up for the sore. However, by that time, her health had declined significantly and she succumbed to her injuries in June 2017. The lawsuit claims that Betty’s death stemmed from a combination of the pressure sore, sepsis, a urinary tract infection, malnourishment and weight loss, all of which were the alleged result of her stay at Horizon Health.