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Assisted Living Fall Leads To Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of an assisted living resident has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility. 83-year-old, Luveda Fern Kessler, fell and cut her leg as she got out of bed at her Laguna Hills assisted living apartment. Ms Kessler did as she had been told to do: Press a personal emergency response call button, according to a recent lawsuit filed by her family.

The assisted living employee waited 24 minutes before calling 911.  During the 24 minutes Ms. Kessler lay bleeding and unassisted with any staff.  By the time the paramedics arrived, Ms. Kessler lay on her stomach, non-responsive. She was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Wrongful Death in Assisted Living FallVilla Valencia did not report the Aug. 23, 2007, incident to the state.  The incident led to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court last month against Villa Valencia and its owner, Sunrise Senior Living Inc.  “They let my mom bleed to death,” said Kessler’s daughter, Joanne. “I thought that was the best place for her. … Her death was completely preventable.”

Assisted living facilities are not intended to provide the same level of care as nursing homes.  Nonetheless, assisted living facilities are required to conduct assessments as to residents medical needs and provide assistance to residents who require it.  In this case, not only was there not a nurse to provide help, there was no staff to provide basic life saving assistance. 

Here is a transcript of 911 call regarding Kessler’s injury, which was made at 1:57 a.m. Thursday Aug. 23, 2007.  The family should use this as evidence of the assisted living facilties neglect in court.

911:Fire emergency.

Caller:Yes, I have a resident in Villa Valencia and she fell off the floor – – she is bleeding on the floor.

911:Okay what is the address, please?

Caller:It’s 25, sorry hold on – – – get that address for me quick – – just a moment – – are you there?

911:Uh-huh.

Caller:Hello?

911:Yes.

Caller:Oh, it’s – – can you hear me?

911:I can, go ahead.

Caller:24552 Paseo de Valencia.

911:OK, which room number?

Caller:Sunrise, it’s 226 A building.

911:Room number 226 in Building A.

Caller:Yes, 226.

911:OK, and the telephone number you are calling me from, please?

Caller: Pardon me?

911: The telephone number, please.

Caller:The phone number for here?

911: Yes, the one you are calling me from.

Caller:949-581-67 – –

911:No, the number you are calling me from, ma’am.

Caller:OK, I’ll have to get her number.

911:Is there a nurse with the patient?

Caller:No, there’s not a nurse here right now.

911:Who’s with the patient?

Caller:I’m with the patient right now, and I don’t know her direct number, I’m using the number for the – –

911:OK, I have help on the way for you. How old is she?

Caller: I don’t know her age right now – –

911:– – give me your best guess.

Caller: Can you – –

911:– – give me your best guess.

Caller:Around 81.

911:81. Is she conscious?

Caller: She’s conscious.

911:Is she breathing OK?

Caller: She’s breathing. Get her …for me quick.

911: OK. And what is she – – she fell off the bed?

Caller:Yes, she fell off the bed.

911:And she’s bleeding from where?

Caller: Her foot. She always has problems with her foot.

911:OK, are you able to control the bleeding (2:15) with some pressure.

Caller:I’m trying to find it right now.

911:You’re trying to find what right now?

Caller: The bleeding, where it’s coming from.

911:OK.

Caller: I just walked into the room not too long.

911:OK.

Dispatch:This is 18 we don’t need to go, right

911: No.

Dispatch: All right, I’m going to disconnect.

911:All right. Thanks.

911:What you need to do is find several clean, dry cloths, apply direct continuous pressure to her foot

Caller: Yeah, OK.

911: – – to control the bleeding. Are you able to do that for me?

Caller:Yes, yes.

911: OK. All right, we should be there in a few minutes if anything changes (2:45) call us right back.

Caller: OK.

911:Thank you.

Caller:Bye-bye.

Sun Rise Senior Living is a publicly traded company that runs 445 senior centers internationally including 23 in Illinois.

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