PALMDALE – A Los Angeles-based personal injury law firm has filed a lawsuit against JW Care Home in Palmdale and its administrator for elder abuse, negligence and fraud.
Garcia, Artigliere & Medby filed the lawsuit April 17 on behalf of 80-year-old Gloria McCully, alleging the residential care facility for the elderly wrongfully withheld required care. [View the complaint here.]
The complaint alleges JW Care Home “failed to abide by (the) legally-mandated preadmission appraisal process” and did not follow through with the “provisions of safe and healthful living accommodations required for assistance.”
As a result, McCully suffered an infected, gaping and malodorous stage 4 pressure sore the size of a baseball, the lawsuit claims. The alleged negligence began with McCully being admitted into the home-like facility, which by law is unable to provide medical care to sick residents, according to personal injury attorney Stephen Garcia.
Garcia explained there are typically three levels of long-term healthcare – an acute care hospital, which is the highest level of care; a licensed healthcare provider, which is known as a skilled nursing facility; and the residential care facility for the elderly, which cannot provide medical care under the law.
“So what happened is that this non-medical facility took somebody in who is very sick and had conditions far beyond which they can take care of… as a matter of law and as a matter of practice,” Garcia told The AV Times. “And the reason they did that was because of what we call, ‘heads in the beds’ – you put a head in the bed, and you get a paycheck.”
McCully was accepted into the residential care home with a stage 1 pressure sore, Garcia said, and because the staff lacked the necessary medical qualifications to take care of her, “this reddening on her bottom became an open-to-the-bone wound.”
According to a statement from the law firm, the care facility’s administrator, Josephine B. Wassel, “lied to Ms. McCully’s family and told them that Ms. McCully’s pressure sore was healing.” But a nurse later told McCully’s daughter that the pressure sore had worsened in a two-day span, the law firm stated.
McCully’s daughter immediately had her mother transported to Palmdale Regional Medical Center by ambulance and her doctor recommended surgery; however, they decided it would be too risky, requiring a “dinner-plate sized incision,” the law firm stated. The 80-year-old woman now suffers with tremendous pain and may still require surgery, according to the lawsuit.
The defendants “were aware of the causal relationship between understaffing, lack of training, failure to allot sufficient economic resources, unfitness of staff in capacity and competency and the improper withholding of required medical and/or custodial services to residents of the facility,” the complaint alleges.
Seeking unspecified monetary damages, the lawsuit has been served upon JW Care Home (located at 37944 Moondance Drive in Palmdale) and its administrator. A trial date has not been set; however, Garcia said a motion will be heard July 2 to request a trial setting priority.
“This means, basically, let’s get the trial while Ms. McCully is alive so she can have benefit of access to justice in her lifetime,” Garcia said.
A call to the facility seeking comment regarding the lawsuit was not returned.