Criminal Neglect?

Neglect or Mistake?

When does neglect get so bad that it is a criminal act? A reckless disregard for the health and safety of vulnerable adults? A conscious disregard? When the facility lies about it? Tries to cover it up? Here is a situation that begs the question.

Two vulnerable adults are dead and another hospitalized after caregivers at a facility carelessly served dish soap to three residents. All three of the victims suffer from dementia. See press release from the San Mateo Police Department.

Marcia Cutchin said her mother, Trudy Maxwell, passed away following the preventable incident. Her mother was Gertrude Elizabeth Murison Maxwell. Atria Park Senior Living assisted living facility recklessly served dishwashing liquid as drinking juice to her.

Maxwell suffered fatal injuries. Health care providers told the Maxwell family no treatment could help with the “severe blistering of her mouth and throat and esophagus.” Atria told her family the substance was an “alkaline cleaning solution that eats protein.” She died from toxic poisoning.

Constantine Canoun also died. A caregiver at the Atria facility showed his son the “cleaning fluid” his dad ingested. Medical records show his dad having burns in his stomach and esophagus.

No Explanation

Atria Park suspended the employees involved in the incident. There has been no further explanation for how such a mixup could have occurred. The facility attempted to cover up the incident. The facility employees told first responders that the dementia patients ingested the fluids on their own. This was an obvious lie. Maxwell needed assistance to drink by mouth.

“Many people like my mother, you have to hold a cup to her mouth and tip it into her mouth,” Cutchin said.

Cutchin added that her family chose the Atria facility for its reputation. Cutchin told KRON4:

“That facility was very highly regarded and very expensive. You do those things to ensure that there’s a higher level of care.”

This is tragic. I hope the other two survive. Giving toxic poison to a demented vulnerable adult should be criminal.