San Pablo Nursing Facility Exacerbates Patient’s Injuries Resulting in Death

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against the 24-hour skilled nursing facility Vale Healthcare Center in San Pablo, CA, for elder abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, fraud, and the wrongful death of 85-year-old Ruth Thrower. The lawsuit alleges Ms. Thrower suffered a preventable fall, a hip fracture and a wide array of other forms of misconduct that resulted in her death. The operator of the facility, Grancare, LLC, has been named in previous lawsuits and cited for chronic infractions for putting other patients’ lives at risk.

“As soon as Ms. Thrower became a resident at this facility, her fate was sealed,” says attorney Stephen Garcia. “The facility failed to create and implement proper care plans to prevent Ms. Thrower from suffering further falls, and consciously disregarded her safety. This was a recipe for tragedy.”

In March 2015, Ms. Thrower was admitted to the facility for rehabilitation after suffering a seizure. When she arrived at the facility, she already suffered from dementia, had a history of seizures, and a pressure sore on her tailbone that was healing and almost closed. She was mobile with the assistance of a walker and able to take care of most of her daily activities on her own. Upon admission, the staff considered Ms. Thrower a high fall risk patient who required specific interventions to protect her from additional falls.

On June 27, 2015, Ms. Thrower’s daughter came to visit her at the facility and witnessed her mother crying in bed and in pain; however, no one at the facility told her daughter that Ms. Thrower suffered a recent fall. Later that evening, the facility called Ms. Thrower’s daughter to tell her that her mother fell but was okay, which was false information.

The next day, facility staff called Ms. Thrower’s granddaughter and told her that Ms. Thrower suffered another fall and was being transferred to the hospital for x-rays, which indicated a fractured hip that required surgery. One week after surgery, Ms. Thrower returned to the facility without her family’s knowledge or consent. Unhappy with the facility’s care, Ms. Thrower’s family removed her from the facility and took her home to receive home care, and treatment for the pressure sore on her tailbone, which was now much larger and deeper than before.

Later that day, the family came to learn that Ms. Thrower was left in bed to suffer for 18 hours after she fell. The facility failed to assess Ms. Thrower’s injuries, nor update her care plans or implement additional fall interventions. As a direct result of their negligence, Ms. Thrower was no longer able to walk or participate in her daily activities as she had been able to upon admission to the facility.

On July 30, 2015, Ms. Thrower succumbed to her injuries and passed away.