12 complaints made against San Mateo's Atria Park prior to senior dying from dishwashing liquid

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ByLuz Pena via KGO logo
Thursday, September 1, 2022
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Prior to a senior dying from dishwashing liquid served at San Mateo's Atria Park, the facility has received 12 complaints alleging staff negligence.

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- We dug into the latest records from California Department of Social Services and confirmed Atria Park in San Mateo has been investigated at least nine times by state officials since 2017.

RELATED: 93-year-old woman dead after seniors served dishwashing liquid at San Mateo senior living facility

Prior to the death of 93-year-old Trudy Maxwell after she was given what Atria described as "dish-washing liquid instead of drinking juice," the state received 12 complaints from this facility some alleging:

"A resident who sustained multiple unexplained injuries while under the care of facility staff"

"Staff failing to give medications as prescribed"

"Staff not meeting residents medical needs and not transporting residents to medical appointments"

One allegation is also accusing Atria of:

"Illegally evicting a resident"

Attorney Kathryn Stebner has filed multiple lawsuits against Atria senior living in the last 15 years.

All the cases settling outside of court. Two of them involving negligence at the same facility where Trudy Maxwell and two other seniors were given a toxic chemical. Stebner believes these complaints are just the tip of the iceberg.

"It's gross negligence what happened here and it's elder abuse. They were reckless," said Kathryn Stebner, Attorney for Stebner Gertler Guadagni and Kawamoto.

VIDEO: Family claims San Mateo Atria Park staff served mother 'commercial grade cleaner,' killing her

Stebner is not involved in the Maxwell case, but says facilities like Atria are short-staffed.

"In a nursing home they are supposed to have 3.5 nursing hours per patient a day. In assisted living like Atria there are no numbers that people have to set. It's just meet the needs of the residents. So it leaves more room for error because there are no standards," said Stebner.

A complaint investigation report from March of 2021 listed allegations of:

"This facility lacking sufficient staff to meet resident needs, facility staff not qualified, facility member did not properly assess resident after falling and didn't treat resident with dignity and respect."

In a statement California Department of Social Services did not confirm if an inspector had been to the facility to investigate the latest incident and said:

"The Department is conducting an investigation and working with local law enforcement. The Department cannot comment on ongoing investigations."

Stebner believes the state has enough grounds to give Atria more than a fine in this case.

"The state should put them on probation for something like that and watch them very closely. If they don't meet them probationary requirements, they should shut them down," said Stebner.

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