BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (CN) - A nursing assistant at a nursing home sexually assaulted a 93-year-old grandmother so violently she died from her injuries, her granddaughters claim in court.
Patricia Anne Holcomb and Angela Jourdan sued Evergreen Arvin Healthcare, its parent company Empres Healthcare Management, and the nursing home's owner/operators in Kern County Superior Court on behalf of their late grandmother, Ivan Jean Bonds.
"Ms. Bonds was sexually assaulted on the evening shift of May 25, 2013 by one of Evergreen Arvin Healthcare's certified nursing assistants (CNA). She was found six hours after the sexual assault occurred, while blood pooled in her vaginal canal to the point she had blood clots, before being transferred to an acute hospital," the complaint states.
The complaint does not identify the male nursing assistant.
Bonds, who had lived at Evergreen since 2001, was "in a very vulnerable position" because she was nonverbal and could not get around on her own, the complaint states.
Her granddaughters claim Evergreen knew that the nursing assistant was a "sexual predator," but allowed him to care for patients anyway.
They claim in the lawsuit that he had sexually assaulted a male patient just four days before he attacked their grandmother, but the defendants did not suspend or discipline him in any way, report the assault to the appropriate law enforcement and state agencies, or investigate the incident.
When the granddaughters learned their grandmother had been hurt, they demanded that she be taken to a hospital to stop the bleeding. Once there, a surgeon "discovered that Ms. Bonds had been raped," the complaint states.
The hospital reported the incident. Bonds died 18 days later, on June 12 "as a result of her injuries," the complaint adds.
Several Evergreen employees, including its administrator and the head nurse responsible for Bonds' care, tried to cover up the incident and interfere in the investigation by accessing her medical chart without authorization and making copies of her file, according to the complaint.
The California Department of Public Health investigated the incident and wrote Evergreen a Class A citation and a $20,000 fine, according to the complaint.
This was not the first time Evergreen has been cited for breaches of patient care, the granddaughters say. They claim, among other things, that the facility received numerous citations for "inadequate patient care," deficiencies in healthcare services, failure to thoroughly screen potential staff members, and failure to report incidents of abuse and assault.
"Ms. Iva Jean Bonds, and other senior citizens and disabled persons who resided at Evergreen, were substantially more vulnerable than other members of the public to the defendants' conduct because of age, poor health or infirmity, impaired understanding, restricted mobility, and/or disability," the complaint states.
"As a result of the conduct of defendants ... Ms. Bonds suffered horribly before she died," her granddaughters say.
They also claim that Evergreen did not have enough nurses to care for all its patients, and relied on "untrained and/or unqualified staff in order to increase their own profit."
Linda Hunt Mullany, with Gordon & Rees, told Courthouse News that Evergreen has not yet seen the lawsuit, but that "allegations of this nature are taken very seriously."
"We are committed to providing quality care to our residents and will cooperate with all state or federal investigations to determine the true facts," she said.
The granddaughters seek statutory penalties and special, punitive, and treble damages for wrongful death, elder abuse, fraudulent concealment, and health code violations.
They are represented by Daniel Rodriguez, of Bakersfield, and by Janice Mulligan with Mulligan, Banham & Findley of San Diego.