WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- It happened again. Days after 93-year-old Trudy Maxwell died after being served "dish-washing liquid instead of drinking juice" at a San Mateo Atria senior living facility, another family is coming forward.
This time the incident took place at an Atria facility in Walnut Creek. The resident was 94-year-old Constantine Canoun. The facility said he appeared to suffer a negative reaction on Aug. 23. He died on Wednesday.
"The primary job of an assistant care facility is to enhance the lives of senior citizens. Now we have Atria, who has ended two lives in a week. That is egregious," said Niall McCarthy, attorney at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.
McCarthy is not involved in either case but specializes in elder abuse cases. He is calling on the state to intervene.
"What they have done so far is duck responsibility. Really it falls on the state to do something. The state has the department of social services where they do investigations and they issue citations," said McCarthy.
Regarding the death of Constantine Canoun, Atria sent a statement saying in part: "At this time we believe it was likely food related...We are completing our internal investigation and await the official cause of death. The staff members involved have been suspended in the meantime."
ABC7 News spoke to Canoun's son on the phone who said a worker at the Atria facility showed him the "cleaning fluid" they said his dad drank. Later on, Atria's management said Canoun ate Hot Cheetos and denied the cleaning fluid allegation. His son said medical records show his dad having burns in his stomach and esophagus.
ABC7 News dug into the records of the Walnut Creek facility. California Social Services Department has investigated at least six complaints against this facility since 2018.
Some cited, the "facility failing to provide adequate staffing to meet resident's needs" and "a resident sustaining an injury while in care."
McCarthy said the state typically releases a list of findings three days after an incident of this type. It's been a week since the first case. The state is saying they are investigating.
"What they can do is suspend licenses. So they have the ability to put someone out of business," McCarthy said.
Atria Senior Living statement:
"On the night of August 23, 2022, a resident at the Atria Walnut Creek community appeared to suffer a negative reaction. Staff immediately contacted 911, alerted the resident's family, and the resident was transferred to the hospital. While it is uncertain what caused this reaction, at this time we believe it was likely food related. We were initially notified that the resident was doing well, but sadly yesterday he passed away. Our sincerest condolences are with his family and loved ones. We are completing our internal investigation and await the official cause of death. The staff members involved have been suspended in the meantime. The health and safety of our residents are our highest priorities."
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