Attorney: Care home residents weren't abandoned

October 28, 2013 8:50:20 PM PDT
ABC7 News got a look Monday inside the disheveled mess left behind when some elderly residents were abruptly moved out of their Castro Valley care home Saturday. It all happened after the state suspended the center's license and after a staffer's call to 9-1-1.

The attorney for the owner disputes claims that the residents were abandoned. He says the owners of the facility were just trying to do the right thing after their license was suspended. They were trying to find homes for about 14 low-income residents, but they couldn't do it in time -- at least not before the sheriff arrived.

There are still slippers on the floor, empty bottles on tables, and unmade beds -- clear signs that the residents were moved out in a hurry. The attorney for the facility says Saturday's rapid evacuation by the sheriff's department was an over-reaction.

Orrin Grover says there were at least three staff members caring for 14 patients and that owner Hilda Manuel would never put her clients in danger. "Her heart is as big as the whole outdoors and that should be evidenced by the fact that she was willing to take social security residents and when other facilities refused to take folks that can't afford to pay $3,000 a month," he told ABC7 News.

Last week, Manuel was notified by state social services that her license was temporarily suspended effective Thursday. Allegations included hiring staff without proper background checks and mishandling patient medication.

About half the residents were moved out by Thursday, but 14 remained and on Saturday, a staff member called 9-1-1. "We just get up there and find the 14 people up there with nobody really to care for them. So, paramedics plus ambulance company got them all transported to hospitals and that's what happened," Sgt. JD Nelson said.

A spokesman for the California Department of Health Services says the state had a staffer monitoring Valley Springs. "At no time was there a time when these residents were left completely unsupervised," Michael Weston said.

Cristina Flores took over a care facility in Oakland that had been owned and operated by Hilda Manuel. "There were still eight people here without care and supervision. There was no heat, no water, no food, and no operable kitchen," she said describing

As for Valley Springs, Alameda County Adult Protective Services is now working to find new homes for the 14 residents displaced this past weekend.


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