Tag Archives: Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center

Nursing home magnate loses bid to transfer case from Humboldt County

A Humboldt County judge denied Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz’s bid to transfer jurisdiction of a wrongful death lawsuit to Los Angeles, rejecting a Rechnitz’s claim that he couldn’t get a fair trial in Humboldt.

Judge Timothy Cessna ruled that Brius failed to show that a Humboldt jury would show bias towards the company that controls every skilled nursing facility in the county, the Eureka Times-Standard reported.

Rechnitz, a Los Angeles billionaire, had argued that “negative” reports of the company’s failed attempt last year to close three of its five nursing homes in the county and potentially force residents to transfer far from their families, would prevent him from getting a fair trial.

Local officials had accused him of using the planned closures as bargaining chips to force authorities to boost his Med-Cal reimbursements. Rechnitz’s lawyers even noted that the North Coast Journal had ranked his closure ploy as Humboldt County’s top “Dick Move” of 2016.

The case was filed by relatives of  Ralph Sorensen who was admitted to Eureka’s Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, where he developed a pressure sore that became infected and ultimately led to his death last year.

The Sorensen case is just the start of Rechnitz’s legal troubles in Humboldt. He is facing several lawsuits including one filed on behalf of a man whose sister alleges he was discharged from a Eureka nursing home and dumped at a hotel where he died four days later and another filed on behalf of a man who also died after developing pressure sores that became infected.


NUHW requests investigation into Humboldt patient death

The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) last week formally requested a government investigation into the death of Randy Lee Kruger, who died in November after developing a pressure ulcer while a patient at Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

The 99-bed nursing home is operated by Brius Healthcare Service, the largest nursing home operator in California and the only operator in Humboldt County.

NUHW filed its complaint with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) after learning that the agency was not investigating Mr. Kruger’s death. CDPH is responsible for licensing, monitoring and regulating the state’s nursing homes.

Last month, Mr. Kruger’s wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that Brius committed elder abuse by failing to adequately care for her husband. Mr. Kruger lived at the nursing home for 15 months, where he developed a Stage IV pressure sore that ultimately penetrated all the way to his tailbone, according to the lawsuit.

On November 2, 2016, he was transferred by ambulance to a nearby acute-care hospital where he died seven days later from a bone infection and pneumonia, says the lawsuit.

Kruger’s wrongful death lawsuit is one of three filed in Humboldt County since November against Brius nursing homes and Brius CEO Shlomo Rechnitz.

Last August, CDPH fined Brius’ Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center $40,000 in connection to its care of Ralph Sorensen, who also died of complications stemming from a pressure ulcer, according to press reports, government records and his family’s lawsuit. The agency’s investigation, however, fails to mention Mr. Sorensen’s death.

The CDPH is reportedly investigating the care Alan Dewey received at the Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. According to a lawsuit filed on behalf of his sister, the nursing home discharged Mr. Dewey and left him at a hotel where he died four days later. Mr. Dewey had “multiple complex medical problems” including dementia, blindness, encephalopathy, bipolar disorder and chronic pain, says the suit. Last October, Brius officials allegedly “deposited” him at a Clarion Hotel with his medications, “a half-gallon of milk, instant noodles, and Velveeta macaroni and cheese.” Mr. Dewey was found dead four days later.

Below is NUHW’s letter requesting an investigation into Mr. Kruger’s death:

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Two Brius homes hit with wrongful death lawsuits

The families of two men who died after developing pressure sores in Brius nursing homes have filed lawsuits against the company and its CEO Shlomo Rechnitz. 

The suits, filed in Humboldt County Superior Court, claim the deaths could have been prevented had Brius adequately staffed the homes, according to a report in the Eureka Times-Standard and a copy of court records.

Ralph Sorensen and Randy Kruger both died after developing pressure ulcers that became infected, according to the lawsuits. Kruger resided at the Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center and Sorenson resided at the nearby Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center.

The lawsuits come just one month after the California Department of Public Health issued $160,000 in fines to the Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center for patient care violations stemming from low staffing levels and poor oversight.

Pressure ulcers form when patients spend too much time in one position, which is often the case at nursing homes that are not adequately staffed. The families’ attorney, W. Timothy Needham of the firm Janssen Malloy LLP, told the Times-Standard that it appeared that both facilities “are being consciously understaffed.”

In Kruger’s case, the Brius facility failed to properly treat a pressure sore that formed on his tailbone last August, attorneys alleged in court papers. Three months later Kruger died of a bone infection and pneumonia.

“You have to realize what (they) have literally done is they’ve allowed this person to rot to the point that they’ve got a hole in their back so large you can put your fist in all the way to their backbone,” Needham told the Times Standard.

The lawsuit, filed by Randy Kruger’s wife, seeks damages for wrongful death, negligence, and elder abuse under California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act. The suit, attached below, states:

“The continuing pattern of abuse, as alleged above, was a direct result of defendants’ conscious plan to operate Eureka at inadequate staffing and patient care levels to wrongfully maximize their business profits, including patient dumping to avoid incurring costs associated with transfer to another appropriate facility under the law.” 

In Sorenson’s case, the Seaview facility never alerted his family or doctor that he had developed an ulcer,” attorneys alleged in court papers.

State regulators fined the Brius facility $40,000 in connection with Sorensen’s death, but Brius is appealing the fine, the paper reported.

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