Lawsuit Filed: Woman Dies in Fresno Nursing Facility After Elder Abuse and Negligence

Fresno, Calif. – Emma Hannickel suffered from dementia, a propensity to wander and poor balance, all of which rendered her a high fall risk requiring 24-hour skilled nursing care. In 2012, she was admitted to Cottonwood Court for long-term care and assistance with all activities of daily living. It’s alleged that Cottonwood Court accepted responsibility for Hannickel even though she required more attention than they would or lawfully could provide. As a result of their alleged negligence, Hannickel suffered a fall, resulting in a fractured knee and eventual death.

Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Cottonwood Court for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Emma required more care and interventions to prevent injury than the Cottonwood Court would or could lawfully provide,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “It certainly appears from available evidence that Cottonwood Court unlawfully retained Emma to maximize their own profits, and in doing so, they exposed Emma to extreme health and safety hazards, resulting in her tragic death.”

Allegations and Background

In 2012, Hannickel was admitted to Cottonwood Court for long term care. Due to her dementia, she had an increased propensity for wandering when left unattended, which made her a high fall risk. Upon her admission, the facility’s staff was notified of her condition; however, despite knowing that Hannickel required a higher level of care than the non-medical RCFE facility could provide, they accepted responsibility for her.

Hannickel required special care and assistance, including 24-hour monitoring, assistance with transferring, safety and assistance devices, and interventions to prevent further falls. The lawsuit alleges that Hannickel’s son requested that the facility provide full-length bedrails; however, when the bedrails were finally ordered and delivered, one of the staff members rejected the delivery without ever informing her son or physician.

The lawsuit states that on October 28, 2016, Hannickel fell out of bed and had to be rushed to the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, the lawsuit states that X-Rays proved Hannickel had suffered a fractured knee. Unfortunately, her condition deteriorated rapidly and she died on November 14, 2016.