Lawsuit Filed: Woman Dies Weeks After Admittance to Orange County Nursing Facility

Orange County, Calif. – Miriam Alexander, an 85-year-old woman, entered Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center for rehabilitation after a fall that left her with a broken pelvis. Alexander had a known history of medical conditions, including anemia, diabetes, high blood pressure, stomach bleeding and infections. Rather than provide this knowingly required care to Miriam, Palm Terrace literally failed to address her known risks allowing for an ignored internal bleeding to progress until it literally poisoned poor Miriam to death just weeks after admittance to Palm Terrace.

Garcia & Artigliere & Faulkner filed a lawsuit against Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center for elder abuse, and negligent hiring and supervision.

“Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center appears to have made a decision to conduct unlawful and deceptive practices by understaffing and failing to appropriately train employees for the purpose of income,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “The facility was well aware that Miriam required a high level of care, and it’s clear that in failing to provide adequate monitoring and basic care, they were lining their own pockets. This is especially troubling as this facility is a repeat offender that has been cited numerous times by the State of California for falling short in the most basic care of its patients. Unfortunately, it appears that Palm Terrace sees this all as the price of doing business with the acceptable loss of death to its residents. We disagree and we will utilize the Court system to attempt to put an end to this practice by Palm Terrace of violating rules put in place to protect the health and safety of elder and sick residents of California.”

Allegations and Background

In early December 2016, Alexander fell at her home and fractured her pelvis. She was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a Mission Viejo hospital for treatment until she was transferred to Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center for continuing care and rehabilitation.

According to the lawsuit, the facility ignored six requests by Alexander’s family members to hold a meeting to discuss her care. The State of California later investigated and found that the facility had violated its requirement to hold a care meeting. The suit alleges that because the facility did not adequately assess Alexander’s condition, of which details were provided to them through medical documentation and family information, the facility failed to take into account the extensive assistance Alexander needed with all her activities of daily living, including taking medications, eating and toileting.

Alexander also needed 24-hour supervision and monitoring of her blood levels, which the facility allegedly failed to provide. The lawsuit also states that facility staff ignored Alexander’s requests for her pain medication and as a result, she spent many hours suffering unnecessarily. The staff allegedly also tried to conceal Alexander’s pain by threatening her. She was so intimidated by the facility’s staff that Alexander begged her daughter not to complain about the staff not providing her with pain medication.

Due to the apparent substandard care Alexander received at Palm Terrace Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, her condition declined so quickly that by mid-January—just about a month after being admitted—she stopped eating, began to complain of severe stomach pain and vomited blood. Ultimately, Alexander suffered cardiac arrest and died.