A Brius-owned nursing home in Humboldt County evicted a 63-year-old patient suffering from dementia and left him alone in a hotel room where he died four days later, according to a lawsuit filed last month by an attorney for the man’s sister.
Alan Dewey had been living for nearly two years at the Eureka Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, which state regulators fined $160,000 earlier this year for substandard care that stemmed from chronic understaffing. The nursing home also has been named in two other wrongful death lawsuits since November.
Dewey was admitted to the home in late 2014, according to his complaint filed by Amelia F. Burroughs of the law firm Janssen Malloy LLP. He had suffered a “significant brain injury in 1975 and a stroke, which affected his vision.” He also had “a seizure disorder and multiple complex medical problems.”
On Oct. 14, 2016, the nursing home “deposited” Dewey at the Clarion Hotel in Eureka with his medications, “a half-gallon of milk, instant noodles, and Velveeta macaroni and cheese,” according to the complaint, which described his hotel stay this way:
“Dewey could not see well enough to attend breakfast in the lobby of the hotel; could not see well enough to sort and take his medications appropriately, and could not see well enough to sort and take his medications appropriately, and could not see well enough to use the key card to enter his room or navigate his surroundings.”
He was found dead inside his hotel room on Oct. 18.
At the time that Dewey was allegedly dumped at the hotel, Rechnitz had announced his intention to close the Eureka nursing home and two others in Humboldt County in a move local officials said was a naked ploy to pressure them into once again boosting his reimbursement rates.
Dewey’s sister, Sherri McKenna, told Courthouse News she thinks her brother was discharged as part of Rechnitz’s effort to clear the nursing home given “the onerous requirements for resident transfers.”
The lawsuit names Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz, and several of his corporate entities as defendants for wrongful death and dependent adult abuse. “The facts are horrific,” Burroughs told the news outlet. “The corporate entities running the facility made decisions that I believe really hurt (Dewey).”
Burroughs’ firm is also representing the families of Ralph Sorensen and Randy Kruger. They both died after developing Stage IV pressure ulcers that became infected, according to lawsuits that also name Rechnitz among the defendants.