On August 27, 2014, a California nursing home negligence lawsuit was filed against an Arroyo Grande nursing home for the serious injuries suffered by a 91-year-old resident after she slipped and fell to the floor in her bathroom because the nursing home staff failed to help her. The nursing home malpractice lawsuit alleges that she called for help for three hours before the sleeping nursing home employee finally woke up and came to her room.
The Alleged Underlying Facts
The elderly woman became a resident of the defendant nursing home in October 2013. The nursing home was aware at the time of admission that the woman needed assistance when waking to and from the bathroom. Nonetheless, during the same month of her admission, she was assisted to her bathroom but was left sitting on her toilet for 20 minutes before she was provided assistance from the bathroom. When she discussed with the nursing home employee the amount of time it took for her to receive assistance from the bathroom, she was allegedly told that in the future, she should urinate or defecate in her bed and then she would be cleaned up later, according to the nursing home negligence lawsuit.
The resident and her family met with the nursing home administration to discuss the suggestion that she go to the bathroom in her bed. They were assured that such was unacceptable and that the delay in responding to her call for assistance when she needed to use the bathroom would not occur in the future.
Two days later, when she needed assistance walking to her bathroom, she used her buzzer to summon assistance but no one came to her room to help her. After waiting 20 minutes for assistance, she walked by herself to the bathroom without incident. When she was done in the bathroom, she pulled the alarm cord in the bathroom that was next to the toilet and she waited for assistance to come to help her back to bed. After waiting 20 minutes for assistance, she attempted to walk back to her bed but lost her balance and fell – there was no handrail to grab within her reach.
When she fell, she struck her head and her arm, causing profuse bleeding; she thought that she may have broken her hip and therefore she did not move. She cried out for help but the nursing home employee on duty failed to respond to her. The resident who shared her bathroom with her found her on the floor and repeatedly pulled the emergency call cord but no one responded to the emergency call. The other resident then went up and down the hallway seeking help, but no one responded. When a nursing home employee finally did show up, 911 was not called for several hours. She did not arrive at the emergency room until seven hours after she had fallen.
Adding insult to injury, the required incident report filed by the defendant nursing home with the California Department of Social Services stated that the resident suffered only minor scrapes and a laceration to her arm as a result of her fall. The resident’s attorney alleges that the nursing home employee on duty at the time of his client’s fall was asleep in another resident’s room and was never disciplined as a result of the incident (the employee was moved to the day shift after the incident).
The California nursing home lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, alleging that the defendant nursing home was understaffed and that it placed its profits over the welfare of its residents. The defendant nursing home has reportedly received three citations and one substantiated complaint over the past two years.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries while a resident of a California nursing home or a nursing home in another U.S. state, you should promptly consult with a California nursing home negligence lawyer or a nursing home negligence lawyer in your state who may investigate your nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or nursing home neglect claim for you and represent you in a claim against a nursing home, if appropriate.
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