Georgia Holzmeister, 88, lived at the Super Home Care facility which was run by Silvia Cata until her death in 2012. Now, Cata will soon face trial for involuntary manslaughter and elder abuse, the first case of its kind for the California’s Department of Justice, the Sacramento Bee reported. In addition of the felony charges Cata is also facing charges of great bodily harm and charges that neglect caused Holzmeister’s death.
Holzmeister, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, lived in Cata’s state- licensed home since 2007. She was hospitalized in June of 2012 after her bedsores became infected and she eventually succumbed to sepsis, an infection of the blood.
Cata’s Super Home Care Facility was licensed by the State Department of Social Services to have at least six residents. But her facility has been cited on a least 40 times since 1996 for violations and deficiencies, according to the Sacramento Bee.
During Cata’s preliminary hearing, the court heard testimony from a doctor, Kathryn Locatell, who specializes in geriatric medicine. Dr. Locatell explained that Holzmeister’s bedsores were so bad they smelled foul and would have taken weeks to develop.
Cata’s defense attorney, Linda Parisi, told the court that Holzmeister’s death was tragic, but her client was not at fault. Parisi said her client is “kind” woman who ran the care facility for a number of years.
Although Cata may be a “kind” person, she neglected to give Holzmeister the care she needed to prevent her bedsores from becoming deadly.
Bedsores are skin ulcers that develop when a person is unable to move themselves and lie in the same position for hours on end. These sores are caused by constant pressure on the skin and underlying tissue. Nursing homes or long-term care facilities are supposed to help prevent these bedsores by moving residents, who are paralyzed or too weak, regularly.
Bedsores can also be prevented with proper nutrition and adequate hydration.
Bedsores are a common sign of neglect in nursing homes since they are easily preventable by facility staff. Some patients are prone to bedsores, but severe bedsores can be prevented if staff at long term facilities are able to provide rudimentary care to their residents.
When left untreated, bedsores can cause necrosis of the flesh, leaving the patient with exposed muscle, tissue and in the worst case bone. Bedsores only cause death in extreme cases where the wound has become infected after they are left untreated for weeks on end.
Neglect in nursing homes is a prevalent problem and the victims have a legal recourse they can follow to get justice for the harm they or their loved one has suffered. A nursing home abuse attorney is capable of determining if your loved one is being abused or neglected and will work to obtain compensation for their pain and suffering.