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Elderly Woman In San Mateo Assisted Living Facility Died After She Was Served Dishwashing Liquid Instead of Juice

Elder Abuse AttorneySAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA (August 30, 2022) – One woman has died and two people were hospitalized after they were served dishwashing liquid instead of juice at Atria Senior Living in San Mateo. 

San Mateo police officials are saying that the incident began on Sunday night. Police officers arrived at Atria Park senior living facility after receiving a report that a resident was poisoned. 

Three residents were mistakenly served cleaning chemicals instead of juice. All three people were taken to the hospital in order to receive treatment. 

Sadly, a 93-year-old woman who ingested the dishwashing liquid died at the hospital. The San Mateo police department and the California Department of Social Services Ombudsman are currently conducting an investigation.

A company spokesperson for the senior living facility said that the employees involved in the incident have been suspended until the investigation concludes. 

Liability For San Mateo Nursing Home Deaths

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes is far more common than many people may realize. According to the World Health Organization, “Around 1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. Rates of abuse of older people are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 2 in 3 staff reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year.” There are a number of steps that senior living facilities can take in order to keep residents safe.

  • Nursing home staff should be well trained.
  • Nursing home staff should be properly monitored.
  • Nursing homes should be maintained in a reasonably safe condition. 
  • Chemicals and other irritants should be properly labeled.

According to the National Poison Control Center, about 2.1 million people were poisoned in the United States in 2020 and about 11.3% of those poisonings involved household cleaners. These cleaners are often vibrant colors and can easily be mistaken for juice or soda if they are moved into an unlabeled container. If a nursing home employee accidentally poisoned a resident, the nursing home that they work for could bear liability. In general, companies are liable for the wrongful actions of their employees – insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any nursing home incident.

  • Surveillance footage should be sought. 
  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed. 
  • Medical records should be preserved. 
  • A thorough, independent investigation should be conducted. 

The family of any person that died in a long-term care facility may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral expenses. Sadly, though, nursing homes will often fight extremely hard to deny responsibility for any incident involving their workers. This is why it is so crucial that evidence is properly collected and preserved.

Investigating A San Mateo Nursing Home Death

We at Samer Habbas & Associates extend our deepest condolences to the woman who died at the Atria Park senior living facility. It is our sincere hope that the other two residents will be able to make a full recovery. There needs to be a thorough investigation for the sake of all who have been affected. Measures need to be put in place to help prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again.

Do you need more information about a San Mateo nursing home incident? Our team of nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help in any way that we can. Our skilled litigators have handled many nursing home abuse and wrongful death cases. We care deeply that seniors get the dignity, support and justice that they are entitled to. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into an incident we are here for you. You are always welcome to reach out to us anytime at  949-727-9300.