A lawsuit has been filed by the family of a young girl against the Aldercrest Health & Rehabilitation Center. Howard and Ardis Steele liked the Edmonds facility for their daughter, Lee Ann, who had suffered a stroke, which led to a tracheotomy. The Steeles had felt assured by the facility’s “promises of skilled, high quality care, and a tour that showcased a pleasant exercise room and a bedroom with a pretty comforter.” But less than 24 hours after their daughter was admitted, her tracheal tube clogged with mucous, causing oxygen loss and brain damage. Lee Ann Steele, 49, once a vibrant church secretary who had volunteered at a food bank, died a few months later, in January 2007. Kevin Coluccio, the lawyer representing the Steeles, who live in Seattle, says:
Her parents were given certain representations about her care, and it was on the very first day, due to lack of staffing, that her (tracheal tube) was never checked or cleared.
The lawsuit was filed by Howard Steele against the home, its company — Extendicare Homes Inc. — and 14 other nursing facilities owned by the company in Washington State. The complaint alleges Milwaukee-based Extendicare of violating consumer-protection laws by advertising “quality standards above government regulations” and failing to deliver. Mr. Steele, who is seeking class action approval in his suit, says thousands of people have been affected.
On October 5, 2006, the day Lee Ann Steele was admitted, her family found her lying on a sheetless rubber mattress and her tracheal-tube equipment on the floor, unhooked, with no one attending to her for several hours. The next morning, the family received a call saying Lee Ann had suffered respiratory distress. The complaint referred to a four-year period, from 2004 to August 15, 2008. The lawsuit highlights problems long known by consumer advocates and health officials regarding Extendicare, one of the largest nursing-home chains in North America. The company operates 268 facilities for up to 30,000 residents.
Source: Seattle PI
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