Patient Dies from Injuries Sustained at Ukiah Assisted Living Facility

Ukiah, Calif. — Mountain View Assisted Living accepted responsibility for Robert Lyle Stuefen, knowing that he required assistance and supervision with all activities of daily living. However, the facility failed to properly assess his medical conditions and implement suitable care plans to protect him, which resulted in a fractured neck and, eventually, his death.

“The facility was aware that Robert required more care and supervision than they were able to provide due to the insufficiency of staff in both number and training,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “They failed to properly assess Robert’s deteriorating condition and to notify his family and physician, and also allowed him to suffer a fall that directly resulted in his death.”

Garcia & Artigliere filed a lawsuit against Mountain View Assisted Living for elder abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, and wrongful death. The lawsuit states that upon Stuefen’s admission to the facility in February 2016, he was unsteady, walked with a cane, and required assistance to maintain balance. He also suffered from dementia.

Shortly after his admittance, Stuefen suffered a fall while unattended, which resulted in a substantial decline in his ability to function without assistance. Staff noticed his deterioration and his need for full assistance when walking, transferring and going to the bathroom. He was no longer able to walk safely, even with his cane, and required 24-hour supervision.

Though staff could tell Stuefen’s condition was worsening, they failed to reassess his ability to remain at the facility. They also failed to update his plan of care based on his change in condition. Additionally, the facility failed to observe Stuefen’s visitation rights. Instead of allowing Stuefen to be visited by his only daughter, the facility banned her from any visitation, threatening that if she visited, they would call the police and have her arrested.

On April 8, 2016, Stuefen was walking to the dining hall unassisted and unattended, with only his cane for support, when he fell face-first onto the floor. Staff members were nowhere to be found until they heard screams for help, where they discovered Stuefen motionless on the floor. Staff members called 911 and he was transferred to the hospital, where X-rays confirmed that he had fractured his neck. Stuefen spent two days suffering in the hospital before passing away from his injuries.

Despite the fall and the death of her father, Stuefen’s daughter was not notified until four days after his passing.