Stockton Nursing Facility Sued Again for Wrongful Death

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against Wagner Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for elder abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, and wrongful death. The lawsuit states that the facility neglected Virginia Salas, causing her to suffer from a preventable fall and a myriad of medical conditions that resulted in her death.

“The facility failed to ensure they had adequate staff available to properly supervise Virginia, which resulted in her injuries,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “They also failed to ensure the staff was properly trained, and as a result, Virginia suffered an extremely painful death.”

In 2010, Ms. Salas began residing at Wagner Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after her family was no longer able to care for her at home. Upon Ms. Salas’ admission to the facility, staff was well aware that she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, hallucinations and outbursts, and was a high risk for falls, therefore requiring special care.

However, the facility continuously neglected Ms. Salas’ needs, beginning with the first day of her residency there.  On the day of Ms. Salas’ admission, her daughter had just left the facility when she received a call from a staff member who stated that her mother had “fallen out of bed and hit her head.” Ms. Salas’ daughter immediately turned her car around and returned to the facility, to find her mother with a bump on her head the size of an orange. Without conducting any meaningful assessments, the facility placed Ms. Salas back in bed to suffer the painful consequences of her fall.

Additionally, the facility was so understaffed in both number and in training that the staff would ignore Ms. Salas’ call lights and pleas for help. During visits to the facility, Ms. Salas’ family would hear residents calling for help and it would take approximately 20 minutes for staff to respond. On several occasions, Ms. Salas was left to sit in soiled diapers for hours on end.

In late August 2014, Ms. Salas began losing weight. Despite her declining appetite and rapid weight loss, the staff fraudulently charted in Ms. Salas’ medical records.On several occasions, Ms. Salas’ family would witness that her meal tray would be untouched. However, the staff would pick up the tray full of uneaten food and then falsely chart in her medical record that she had eaten the majority of it.

Furthermore, Ms. Salas began to complain of stomach pain for approximately three weeks, which the facility ignored. As a result, she began to eat even less and the staff did nothing to update her care plan.

On September 5, 2014, Ms. Salas’ daughter visited the facility and noticed that her mother’s eyes appeared inflamed. She spoke to a staff member about examining her mother, but again her request was denied. Four days later, Ms. Salas was rushed to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton. She was diagnosed with septic shock, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, abdominal pain and respiratory failure, all conditions that she had suffered at Wagner Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Ms. Salas passed away from her various health problems on September 10, 2014.