In 2019, I agreed to represent residents of a local nursing home in Hayward, CA in bringing a lawsuit against a nursing home and its operator for abuse and neglect of residents. The harms varied but captured the breadth of the common issues facing residents in nursing homes:
- One resident fell 40 times and fractured his hip.
- Another resident had his leg amputated as a result of poor wound care.
- Another resident was sexually abused by a fellow resident.
- Another resident died after being starved and denied water.
- Another resident was given multiple psychotropic medications without consent.
The first client we signed up was an elderly gentleman named Mr. Sanchez. He also happened to be the President of the Resident Council at the facility. He had worked his entire life as a maintenance worker only to spend his golden years being neglected. The wounds on his legs got so bad, the fatty tissue and bones were exposed. He, like most of our clients, was not after a monetary recovery. Rather he said that he “wanted to help his friends who were suffering.” The conversation is imprinted in my memory.
Mr. Sanchez was an early victim of the covid pandemic and passed in 2020. His request that we help his friends was never forgotten. In 2022, his vision was realized when an Alameda Co. Judge ordered the nursing home and its operators to pay for an independent monitor for the next two years to oversee the facility’s staffing on behalf of the facility’s 180 residents.
The Department of Justice’s Division of Medicare Fraud and Elder Abuse opened its own investigation and sought injunctive relief, i.e. an independent monitor, in the nursing home chain’s 19 other facilities. Earlier this year, their request was granted. Our firm developed a significant amount of information that was then turned over to the Dept. of Justice to further their efforts. Our families participated as well.
With our help, Mr. Sanchez ultimately accomplished what he set out to do.