Neglect Led to Elderly Woman’s Death, Her Family Claims
LOS ANGELES – Kaiser and others neglected an elderly woman’s deteriorating health, ultimately leading to her death, her family claims in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Jehu Robert Hall, Desiree Hall and Vanessa Lackey-Jackson, individually and as surviving heirs and successors in interest of Lois Lackey, sued Kaiser Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, Beverly West Healthcare and Centinela Hospital Medical Center, alleging elder abuse/neglect, negligence, professional negligence, wrongful death, breaches of resident’s rights and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
According to the lawsuit, Lois Lackey, 73, was active and independent until she fractured her neck in a fall.
“She was able to perform all household chores and activities of daily living. She was the matriarch of her family and loved celebrating holidays, birthdays and all of her children and grandchildren’s social and school events. She loved getting together often with friends and family. She especially loved helping people in her community and church. She was an ordained minister and spent countless hours donating her time and talents to charities and charitable services in the community. She was adored by her husband, children, grandchildren and friends,” the complaint states.
Between Lackey’s July 6, 2016 accident and her death on Aug. 14, her condition deteriorated due to neglect by Kaiser, Centinella Hospital Medical Center and Beverly West Healthcare, according to the complaint.
First, Lackey was hospitalized at Centinella Hospital for surgery to repair her neck fracture, according to the complaint. She had no skin breakdown when she was admitted, but had a sacral pressure sore by the time she was moved to Kaiser West Los Angeles (KWLA) on July 13 for physical therapy, occupational therapy and wound care, it says.
“She was still vulnerable and dependent upon the nurses and staff for all of her needs because she was recovering from neck surgery and had limited mobility. Due to her skin breakdown and dependent status, it was imperative that the KWLA staff keep her clean and dry, nourished, provided adequate wound care and turned and repositioned at least every two hours. Plaintiffs were informed that Mrs. Lackey’s sacral pressure sore was ‘not serious’ at the time of her admission to KWLA. Plaintiff’s visited her on a daily basis for hours. They were informed that her wound was improving and that she was medically stable. The expectation was that after aggressive rehabilitation, she would be discharged home. Unbeknownst to plaintiffs, her pressure sore worsened while at KWLA so that, by the time she was discharged to Rancho Los Amigos for aggressive rehabilitation on July 19, 2016, it was a Stage II-III,” the complaint states.
Rancho Los Amigos is not named as a party to the lawsuit.
According to the complaint, Lackey was medically stable and eating well, with normal kidney functioning when she went to Rancho Los Amigos. “However, because the therapy required sitting, stretching and aggressive movement, her physicians and therapists determined that they could not provide the needed therapy for fear that it would severely adversely affect her sacral pressure sore. They therefore advised Kaiser that they could not perform the necessary aggressive therapy and that she would have to be discharged to a facility of Kaiser’s choosing,” the complaint states.
On July 29, Lackey was admitted to Beverly West Healthcare, where her pressure sore got worse, her diabetes flared up due to Beverly West’s sugar-laden food, and she became malnourished and dehydrated, according to the complaint. She was left sitting on a bedpan for hours, or sometimes not given a bedpan at all, so she was forced to soil herself in bed, according to the complaint.
“Despite the fact that Mrs. Lackey developed infected pressure sores, multiple severe urinary tract infections, kidney failure and elevated potassium, which required that she be sent to the hospital on an emergent basis, the staff delayed in reporting Mrs. Lackey’s symptoms to her physicians and once the physicians knew of the change in condition, Mrs. Lackey was still not transferred. The nursing notes revealed symptoms and changes of conditions which were not reported to Mrs. Lackey’s doctor or family,” the complaint states.
“By the time Mrs. Lackey was discharged and transferred back to KWLA, she was in a seriously debilitated condition, from which she never recovered,” it says.
Lois Lackey’s family seeks general, special, exemplary and punitive damages, expenses, interest, costs, civil penalties and attorneys’ fees. The family is represented by Jerrie S. Weiss Law and Injured Patient Advocates in Thousand Oaks.