A Sacramento judge has upheld a $23 million jury award in the death of an elderly woman suffering from bedsores at a Northern California assisted living facility. The judge also added $4.3 million in legal costs and fees to the judgment to the family of Joan Boice, a newspaper reported.
Relatives sued the Emeritus senior living corporation for wrongful death and elder abuse after Ms. Boice died at the Emerald Hills facility in Auburn five years ago. The 82-year-old suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Her death certificate indicated that pressure ulcers were a substantial factor in her death, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The judge said that the Emeritus senior living corporation was guilty of a “high degree of reprehensibility” in the care it provided Joan Boice, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Emeritus spokeswoman Karen Lucas said the company would appeal. “We believe that the verdict was tainted by the admission of improper testimony and evidence and does not reflect the care that we provided Ms. Joan Boice,” Lucas said. “We are proud of the high quality of care that Emeritus employees passionately provide to our 41,000 residents nationwide.”
Emeritus is among the largest assisted living companies in the nation and reported revenue of more than $1 billion last year.
The Judge said that Emeritus management was aware of a lack of training and appropriate staffing levels in the memory care unit and accepted patients, such as Boice, even though they did not have the resources to care for them.
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