For the second time in a year, an Atascadero-based convalescent hospital has been accused of failing to properly care for one of its elderly patients, resulting in their death.
A Long Beach-based law firm Garcia, Artgliere & Medby filed a complaint in SLO County Superior Court Oct. 14 against Country Care Convalescent Home in Atascadero and its parent company, Pacific Christian Senior Services, over the care and eventual death of a 64-year-old patient named Gabrielle Cohoon.
According to the lawsuit, Cohoon was admitted to the facility following hip surgery at Twin Cities Community Hospital in 2014. The complaint alleges that the Country Care staff were aware that Cohoon was susceptible to bedsores, but that they “utterly ignored” her needs, causing her to develop painful and infected bedsores. The suit also claims that the staff ignored concerns from Cohoon’s family, and her condition rapidly deteriorated.
As Cohoon’s condition worsened, she became psychotic and delusional, and eventually had to be rushed to the hospital in November 2014, according to the lawsuit.
“Her condition was so bad that a physician remarked that her prognosis was not good and that he had seen this way to often from these facilities,” the complaint, filed by attorney Stephen Garcia, read.
Cohoon died the same month. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, lays the blame for Cohoon’s death at the feet of Country Care Convalescent Hospital, claiming it was the result of poor training, chronic understaffing, and negligence.
Bill Wilson, an attorney representing Country Care Convalescent Home, said the company was aware of the lawsuit, and said they would answer to the allegations in court.
“We not going to litigate the case in the media,” Wilson told New Times. “But we will be properly responding to the complaints.”
The lawsuit marks the second time Garcia and his firm have sued Country Care. In July, Garcia filed suit against the facility in connection with the death of Leo Paul Landry, an elderly man who suffered from dementia. According to the lawsuit, Landry was also transferred to the facility in 2014 after suffering a hip injury. Landry was prone to falls, but that lawsuit charged that the staff disregarded the information and warnings from the family, and he fell several times during his stay. In April of that year Landry developed pneumonia. Landry’s condition worsened, but instead of taking the appropriate medical steps, the lawsuit alleged that the staff members injected Landry with morphine, and he died shortly after.
Garcia’s firm has a lengthy history filing suits against nursing homes and similar facilities. This year alone, the firm filed lawsuits against nursing and elder care facilities in Stockton, San Diego, Long Beach, Fremont, La Habra and others. The firm’s website claims that its litigation has led to more than $1.2 billion in compensation to “afflicted parties” and their families.
Wilson noted the similarity between the language in Garcia’s previous suit and the current one, characterizing them as “boilerplate”-type language.
“Some of these allegations are trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,” he said.
Both cases remain open in SLO County Superior Court.