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Family of woman who died from self-immolation sues nursing home

In California, countless families trust a nursing home or other adult care facility to take care of an elderly or ill loved one. When staff members at those institutions fail to properly tend to residents, a serious injury or even a fatal accident can occur. In Pasadena, that was precisely the case.

In early October of last year, staff members at the South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital observed that a 57-year-old female resident had been talking to herself, allegedly hearing voices and experiencing hallucinations. Not even two weeks later, the woman was granted a pass to leave the facility unsupervised for as long as four hours a day. Court documents note that there is no evidence that the woman had been evaluated and deemed safe to be on her own. The resident wound up lighting herself on fire and consequently passed away.

Her family has filed a lawsuit against the facility, stating that neglect and dependent adult abuse played a role in the death. According to the attorney for the family, the nursing home had been taking residents who had behavioral health issues despite knowing that the staff could not provide adequate care. An investigation into the facility revealed that seven of 18 residents who had mental health issues had been granted a pass to leave the facility despite not having a physician conduct an examination to determine eligibility.

Court documents note that the nursing home has been fined $20,000, and the family is seeking damages for their immeasurable loss. Anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence should contact an attorney.

Source: Pasadena Star-News, “Family of woman who lit herself on fire sues California’s largest nursing home owner,” Zen Vuong, Aug. 18, 2015

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