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Law360 (May 22, 2020, 8:33 PM EDT) –
A nursing home in Southern California where a 77-year-old man died of COVID-19 in April was beaten with wrongful death and a harassment suit accusing him of banning staff members from wearing masks and gloves, which caused 10 patients to become infected and die.
The family of the deceased patient, Ricardo Saldana, filed a complaint in a state court on Thursday alleging that the Glenhaven Healthcare nursing home in Glendale deliberately concealed the fact that a staff member had been exposed to the new corona virus and took “intentional and cruel actions.” “In response to a pandemic.
“It failed to provide protective equipment such as masks to employees, prohibited employees from carrying or wearing their own protective equipment, and so far locked protective equipment provided by local firefighters,” the complaint stated.
Jackie Saldana and other family members said Glenhaven also failed to take appropriate steps to identify and isolate infected patients and staff members.
“Instead, it hides the knowledge that an employee has been exposed to the virus for about two weeks and has the employee interacting with employees and other residents,” the lawsuit said.
A lawyer for the family, Scott Glovsky, said nursing homes allow the virus to quickly spread among patients, leading to the deaths of 10 patients, including Ricardo Saldana.
“My client believes that if the facility has handled the outbreak properly and has taken appropriate precautions to protect its citizens, their beloved husbands and fathers are still alive,” he said in a statement. “Glenhaven’s behavior is totally unacceptable.”
Representatives for Glenhaven did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.
According to complaints, throughout March the head of nursing home development staff, Marco Gary, instructed employees not to wear masks or other protective equipment that they brought from home because they “didn’t need to because nobody would get sick.” Even when a staff member told Gary that he had an unspecified illness and needed to wear a mask to protect patients, Gary said masks were not permitted, the suit said.
The administrator of the nursing home also hid the fact that a nurse working simultaneously at another facility where a known outbreak of COVID-19 was permitted to continue working in Glenhaven, according to the complaint.
In April, the nursing home implemented a policy of wearing masks for employees but supplies were limited; it also failed to conduct patient and staff testing until April 7, which revealed a positive case, according to the complaint.
The family alleged that the weak nursing home policy resulted in infected patients being transferred to Ricardo Saldana’s room, which caused patients who had not previously shown symptoms to develop coronavirus symptoms. He died of the disease on April 13, the lawsuit said.
“Glenhaven is trying to avoid oversight by local regulators, to save money, and to minimize knowledge about the presence of the virus to residents and employees until it’s too late,” the complaint said. “As a result, the virus is rampant through Glenhaven facilities, infecting residents and employees.”
This family was represented by Scott C. Glovsky and Ari Dybnis from the Scott Glovsky APC Law Office.
Advisor information for Glenhaven was not immediately available.
The case is Jackie Saldana et al. v. Glenhaven Healthcare LLC et al., Case number 20STCV19417, in the California State High Court, County of Los Angeles.
– Editing by Bruce Goldman.
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