Dependent Adult Allegedly Left On Floor For Nine Days
Caregiver Indicted For Second Degree Murder
Hospital Nursing Supervisor Alerted Police
Too frequently, heartbreaking stories of dependent adult and elder abuse appear in the news. On such story involved the death of a homebound dependent and disabled adult who died after allegedly being left on the floor of her home for nine days by her in-home caregiver. The caregiver was later indicted for second degree murder. This gruesome death reveals just how vulnerable isolated elders and dependent adults are. Negligent care, physical abuse and neglect of a dependent person may constitute serios crimes, as in the reported case, and are all grounds for civil liability of the person abusing or neglecting the senior or dependent adult and those responsible for hiring, training and supervising that individual in certain circumstances. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15610.57 (definition of neglect), and 15610.63 (definition of physical abuse). “Neglect,” under California law, includes:
(1) Failure to assist in personal hygiene, or in the provision of food, clothing, or shelter.
(2) Failure to provide medical care for physical and mental health needs. A person shall not be deemed neglected or abused for the sole reason that the person voluntarily relies on treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in lieu of medical treatment.
(3) Failure to protect from health and safety hazards.
(4) Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration.
The San Francisco elder and dependent adult abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. represent injured seniors and dependent adults in San Francisco and throughout California. Our elder abuse litigators can be reach at (415)441-8669. Our toll-free number is 1-888-50EVANS (888-503-8267).
In the story of the dependent adult’s tragic death, police reported that a nursing supervisor at a local hospital called police to report the victim’s suspicious injuries, believed to have been caused by neglect, when the patient arrived in critical condition at the hospital. According to the police, the victim was a 59-year-old disabled woman who had been receiving full-time in-home care for ten years because of developmental disabilities. The investigation revealed that the patient’s caregiver had left the disabled woman on the floor for nine days because the caregiver had been unable to help her back into bed after a fall. The victim died later the same day she arrived at the hospital and police arrested her caregiver for criminal mistreatment the same day. Three weeks later, a Grand Jury indicted the caregiver on charges of second-degree murder and criminal mistreatment.
The nursing supervisor who reported the case is a mandated reporter of elder and dependent adult abuse in California. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15630. Mandated reporters under law include:
(a) Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for the care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not he or she receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, clergy member, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency, is a mandated reporter.
(b) (1) Any mandated reporter who, in his or her professional capacity, or within the scope of his or her employment, has observed or has knowledge of an incident that reasonably appears to be physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or is told by an elder or dependent adult that he or she has experienced behavior, including an act or omission, constituting physical abuse, as defined in Section 15610.63, abandonment, abduction, isolation, financial abuse, or neglect, or reasonably suspects that abuse, shall report the known or suspected instance of abuse by telephone or through a confidential Internet reporting tool, as authorized by Section 15658, immediately or as soon as practicably possible. If reported by telephone, a written report shall be sent, or an Internet report shall be made through the confidential Internet reporting tool established in Section 15658, within two working days.
Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 15630(a) and (b)(1).
Safeguarding Seniors and Dependent Adults
If you have a loved one who is under the care of an in-home caregiver or about to be, one of the most important steps you can take is to check out any caregiver – and the agency you are working with – thoroughly before you hire them. Run a check on the agency itself to see if there have been reported complaints or citations against it. Ask for and really check all references of other patients. Once you have fully vetted and hired a caregiver, keep up your vigilance in monitoring your loved one’s care. Be sure to speak one-on-one with your loved one; don’t let a caregiver speak for them. If you have any suspicions whatsoever that your loved one is suffering any kind of abuse, call us. Always act on your instincts. We will pursue any individual responsibility for the abuse as well as their supervising employers, agencies, and business owners.
Ingrid M. Evans and our other San Francisco elder and dependent adult abuse attorneys can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at email@example.com.
 Evans Law Firm, Inc. is not involved in the case in any way.