Woman Dies at La Brea Rehab Center Due to Neglect

Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed a lawsuit against The Rehabilitation Center on La Brea, located in Los Angeles, California, for elder abuse, negligence, negligent hiring and supervision, and wrongful death of Lola Mae Covington, a patient at the facility. The lawsuit alleges that Ms. Covington was admitted to the facility for rehab after suffering a stroke; however, the staff neglected her needs, causing the development of a Stage IV pressure ulcer that ultimately led to her death.

“During the course of Lola’s stay at the facility, staff flat-out ignored her needs,” said Attorney Stephen Garcia. “They wrongfully withheld services required by the standard of practice, which rendered a horrific pressure ulcer that eventually caused her death.”

In September 2015, Ms. Covington suffered a stroke, which left her paralyzed on one side, bedridden and unable to speak. As she was no longer able to care for herself at home, she was taken to Olympia Medical Center for treatment. Ms. Covington had a gastrostomy tube, an oxygen mask and a catheter to aid her medical conditions.

Ms. Covington was subsequently transferred to The Rehabilitation Center on La Brea for further help with her recovery from the stroke. Upon Ms. Covington’s admission, the staff was well aware of her medical conditions and the help she required, including: assistance with all activities of daily living; assistance with personal hygiene; repositioning to avoid pressure sores; and adequate nutrition and hydration.

While Ms. Covington was a resident at the facility, her family would visit her approximately six days a week for hours at a time. In October 2015, a staff member called Ms. Covington’s family, stating that she was being transferred to Olympia Medical Center for treatment of a fever and a possible urinary tract infection. However, when her family arrived at the hospital, a doctor provided them with a different, much more serious diagnosis, which was that Ms. Covington was “in bad shape and may not make it.”

Ms. Covington remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit for two days and then was moved to a regular room. On October 25, she was transferred back to The Rehabilitation Center on La Brea, at which time a nurse told Ms. Covington’s daughter that her mother had developed a Stage I pressure ulcer. The nurse falsely stated that Ms. Covington had developed the pressure ulcer while at Olympia Medical Center, when in fact it had developed at the facility. The sore was so painful that whenever staff members tried to clean Ms. Covington, she would cry out in pain, asking them to be gentler. However, staff members ignored her cries and did nothing to alleviate her discomfort.

In December 2015, the facility stopped providing Ms. Covington with physical therapy, stating that she was not responding. Ms. Covington was unable to sit up due to the pain from the pressure ulcer she had developed. Additionally, when her family would visit, they found her in bed with dried feces all over her. When they addressed this issue, no one from the facility would come for hours.

In January 2016, Ms. Covington’s condition seemed to be declining. Her family wanted to take her home and arrange for hospice care, but staff members would not allow her to be released, citing her for a Stage IV pressure ulcer. This was the first time Ms. Covington’s family had been notified about the gravity of her current condition. By late January, the pressure ulcer had become so severe and infected that Ms. Covington passed away at the facility.