CBS News Highlights Dudensing Law Client who Experienced Elder Abuse and Neglect at an Oakland Nursing Home

June 13, 2024
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On June 3, CBS News covered the story of Ruby Frazier, a Dudensing Law client who was a victim of elder abuse and neglect at Oakland Heights Nursing and Rehabilitation in Oakland, CA.

Before Ms. Frazier’s admission to Oakland Heights, she was a relatively healthy 87-year-old and entered the facility in a medically stable condition and with no skin injuries. Although the staff at Oakland Heights were aware that she was at risk of developing pressure wounds, they failed to assess this risk properly, implement common-sense interventions to protect her, and consistently and promptly carry out the few limited interventions they did put in place. As a result, Ms. Frazier developed three preventable pressure wounds, one on each of her heels and one on her coccyx. She then developed devastating infections which required hospitalization and ultimately resulted in her death.

This story puts mounting pressure on the private equity firms that fund senior care facilities and often prioritize profit over the proper care of residents. Aspen Skilled Healthcare is a for-profit company that owned, operated, and controlled Oakland Heights and the other facilities within its chain of facilities. Aspen Corporate has faced numerous civil lawsuits and state regulatory actions due to resident injuries and deaths caused by its intentional and habitual understaffing of facilities. According to a complaint filed on behalf of Ms. Frazier, Aspen Skilled Healthcare “knowingly and deliberately understaffed and underfunded Oakland Heights.”

Without the proper numbers or training of staff members, patients fall victim to preventable, life-threatening ailments from which they are often unable to recover. Patients and their families deserve to be safe, comfortable, and clean, a luxury not afforded to Ms. Frazier.

Yolanda Morris, Ruby’s daughter and a plaintiff in this case, told CBS, “My mom would push the button for help, and they wouldn’t acknowledge her.” Yolanda’s other daughter (also a plaintiff) asked, “What if it was your loved one who wasn’t being treated correctly, and they’re calling and calling, and no one is responding?”

The case is set to go to trial in May of 2025.

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