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California nursing home implicated in patient's death

A California jury ruled that one of the nation's largest assisted living facilities company, Emeritus Corp., was guilty of wrongful death and elder abuse. The lawsuit resolves around an 82-year old patient with Alzheimer's disease that left a facility owned by Emeritus while apparently suffering from four major bedsores. The bedsores were considered a major factor in the woman's death shortly after her release.

The attorneys for the female patient claimed that the nursing home facility where she stayed was understaffed, and that the employees had received insufficient training. Apparently, the jury did feel there was enough evidence presented by these attorneys of neglect and substandard care at the nursing to at least hold the company that runs the nursing home liable. The court will next need to decide whether punitive damages should be assessed against the company.

We would hope that the practices of such a large company in the care of the elderly would be better. As Emeritus apparently has revenues of over $1 billion per year, the company had more than sufficient resources to provide the employees with the training that they needed.

There is always a problem for attorneys in proving up these sorts of lawsuits. Patients in memory care facilities are not always able to express any sort of neglect or abuse that has occurred at the facilities, so attorneys need to point to other indicators that neglect has taken place.

We place our elderly patients in these type of homes in hopes that they can at least spend their last years comfortably. These elderly people deserve to be treated in a dignified manner.

Source: Insurance Journal, "Nursing Home Giant Guilty in California Wrongful Death Suit," March 7, 2013

  • Our Long Beach, California lawyers' webpage provides an overview regarding wrongful death lawsuits.

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