Family sues Landmark Care Center in 2010 death of 88-year-old

The family of an 88-year-old woman, whose death at Landmark Care center led to an investigation by Department of Health & Human Services concluding that her care had been inadequate, has filed a wrongful death suit against Landmark. The woman’s family is represented by Terry P. Abeyta of Abeyta Nelson Injury Law.

Alda M. Gray was admitted to Landmark on November 24, 2010 for a short-term rehabilitation with a planned return home. Before being admitted to Landmark, Mrs. Gray lived independently, drove her own car, and played bridge regularly.

Abeyta stated that suit was filed to hold Landmark accountable for its failure to deal with respiratory problems. He said that physician orders called for Mrs. Gray’s oxygen saturation levels to be maintained at or above 90 percent at all times.

During the course of her four days at Landmark, the suit alleges that Mrs. Gray’s oxygen levels dropped to dangerously low levels multiple times, but Landmark failed to notify her family and attending physicians. No notifications were given despite the fact that Mrs. Gray complained repeatedly of shortness of breath even while talking.

Abeyta said that even though physician orders called for her oxygen level to be maintained at 90 percent or above, Mrs. Gray’s oxygen dropped to as low as 71 percent without notification of her physician or family.

This suit also alleges that Landmark exceeded the amount of oxygen which physician directed without getting orders to increase supplemental oxygen from her doctors. Abeyta criticized Landmark’s failure to communicate not only with Mrs. Gray’s doctors, but also with her family.

Following Mrs. Gray’s death, an investigation was conducted by DSHS. DSHS concluded that Landmark had violated the standard of care of Mrs. Gray requiring that the facility must provide the “necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practical physical well being in accordance with the comprehensive plan of care.” An independent expert in the field of geriatric medicine also reviewed the case and found that Mrs. Gray experienced multiple episodes in which her blood oxygen level fell to dangerously low levels over a three-day period before her death. She concluded that Landmark had violated its own care plan requiring that Mrs. Gray’s oxygen be maintained at 90 percent, had exceeded the maximum amount of supplementary oxygen ordered by her physician without notifying the doctor, and failed to tell the family about Mrs. Gray’s respiratory distress.

“This woman’s tragic death was entirely preventable,” Abeyta stated. “She would be alive today had Landmark followed its own care plan to maintain her oxygen at a safe level and communicated with her doctors and family,” according to Abeyta.

Read the online Yakima Herald-Republic article here:

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