In another sign of just how serious California is about protecting elders from abuse; a jury in Sacramento recently awarded the children of an elderly woman who was abused in a long term assisted living facility, a whopping $23 million.
The jury ordered Emeritus Corp to pay damages after finding them guilty of malice, oppression and fraud in its handling of 82 year old Joan Boice, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Within just months of being admitted to the Emeritus at Emerald Hills facility in Auburn, CA, Boice developed bed sores, which were later listed as a leading cause of her death.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
“Already suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Joan Boice arrived at Emeritus at Emerald Hills in Auburn in September 2008. By the time she left in December, she had developed bedsores. She died three months after moving out, with the sores listed as a significant condition leading to her death.
In a two-month trial, plaintiffs put on evidence that the Emerald Hills resident nurse told a caregiver at Emerald Hills who first found the sores to “just don’t let anybody know,” because the disclosure would have resulted in Mrs. Boice’s removal from the facility.
Along with systemic understaffing and a lack of training, Emeritus’ retention policies designed to keep “heads in the beds” resulted from a corporate drive for profits that put the bottom line above residents’ care, according to the plaintiffs.
“It was an eye-opener,” juror Mark Jackson, a mechanic, said of the nine-week trial. “And the world needs to know what’s going on – California needs to know what’s going on with elder abuse in these homes. We need to open our eyes to what’s going on around us.”
If you suspect an elder is being abused in any capacity, while in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home, you can report the incident to the Local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, your local law enforcement and/or the Department of Public Health.
Christopher C. Walton is a California elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. If you believe you or somebody you know has been subjected to any form of abuse in a California nursing home, contact Christopher C. Walton at (866) 338-7079 for a free and confidential consultation. Mr. Walton is a California elder abuse attorney whose practice is dedicated to issues involving elder abuse & neglect. Cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means that you will not owe attorney fees unless there is a monetary recovery made for you.