The family of Loretta Hooker is suing Sunrise Sterling Canyon Assisted Living for Los Angeles County elder abuse and neglect and California wrongful death. The 89-year-old Dementia/Alzheimer's patient died of hyperthermia and cardiovascular disease last August after she was allegedly left alone on an uncovered patio in weather hotter than 100 degrees.
According to her son, Ronald Corn, he was the one who brought her into the shade when he stopped in that day for a visit at the Valencia assisted living facility where she was supposed to be getting supervised care. He described her as appearing "weak" and sweating a great deal. Corn complained to supervisors, yet the following week he said that he once again found his mother sitting by herself on the same unshaded patio (only this time she was "unresponsive"" and in obvious respiratory distress.) Hooker was rushed to a hospital ER where doctors diagnosed her as suffering from cardiac arrest. She died soon after.
Per Corn's Los Angeles County nursing negligence complaint, her body temperature was 103.3 degrees when she died. He is seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical costs, funeral bills, neglect, abuse, and wrongful death. The California Department of Social Services, which investigated Hooker's death, cited the Valencia facility because caretakers failed to check on or stay with the Hooker within 10 minutes of bringing her to the patio. Meantime, the LA County Sheriff's Department, which also conducted its own probe, believes that neglect did take place but that there isn't enough evidence to file criminal charges against anyone.
"Assisted living facilities that take on the responsibility of caring for patients suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, or other mental illnesses must execute the necessary care and supervisory steps needed to keep these residents safe and as healthy as possible," said Los Angeles nursing home neglect and abuse lawyer Vincent Howard.
Often, as their condition progresses dementia patients become fully dependent on others. This can make them vulnerable to wandering or becoming the victim of violence or a sexual crime. Many of them lose the ability to take care of their basic needs unless they are being helped.This is why it is so important that a care facility that claims to specialize in dementia patient care hire nurses and nurses aides that have the training and experience to handle these residents' special needs. For example, a patient suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's may not realize he/she is beginning to experience heatstroke, and he/she could be incapable of acting to remedy the situation. Hooker is not the first to assisted living facility patient to die after suffering from hyperthermia.
Man says mom, 89, died after being left outside assisted-living home, Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2012
Man Sues Assisted Living Center For Elder Abuse In 89-Year-Old Mother's Death, CBS Local, June 20, 2012
Dementia and Alzheimer's Care, HelpGuide.org
More Blog Posts:
California Nursing Home Negligence: Widower Wants Justice in Wife's Death, California Injury Lawyers, April 28, 2012
Orange County, California Nursing Home Negligence?: Newport Beach and Yorba Linda Facilities Fined Over Patient Deaths, California Injury Lawyers, December 20, 2011
"Filing a Los Angeles elder abuse lawsuit won't bring your loved one back but it can allow you to hold the nursing home liable for the harm and neglect that your loved one suffered," said Valencia personal injury lawyer Vincent Howard.
Your first case evaluation with Los Angeles nursing home abuse attorney Vincent Howard of Howard Law, PC is free.