The family of a 97-year-old woman has been awarded more than $500,000 from her Tacoma senior living facility, following a fall after which she wasn’t found for more than 30 hours.
Violet Moseson fell in March 2014 in her apartment at Merrill Gardens, 7290 Rosemount Circle.
By the time a family member found her, she had left a trail of blood and excrement around the apartment as she tried to get help, according to arbitration records.
After the fall Moseson suffered dementia, apparently related to an extended hospital stay and altered living situation, and passed away Jan. 7, 2015.
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Arbitration between her family and the facility was finalized earlier this month, and Merrill Gardens paid Moseson’s family the $586,599.06 awarded.
Merrill Gardens President David Eskenazy said in a statement Monday: “We want to express our sincere apologies to the Moseson family. At Merrill Gardens we hold ourselves to a high standard for providing quality care and in this case we let Mrs. Moseson and ourselves down.
“As a result, we have carefully evaluated our call system procedures and implemented changes to ensure this will not happen again.”
According to paperwork detailing the decision by arbiter Kathy Cochran:
Residents use an alarm system to check in each morning, and when Moseson didn’t do so after the fall, a staff member should have checked on her.
Moseson was a new resident, and because of an error, the system in her apartment hadn’t been activated. That meant no one checked on her, and she wasn’t found until a family member visited.
“It was just kind of a complete system failure,” said Colleen Durkin Peterson, an attorney for the family.
Moseson’s loved ones argued that the fall and the delay in her being found caused her to die several years earlier than she would have otherwise.
“I conclude Violet may have lived another two years, with better quality of life requiring less intrusive assistance,” Cochran wrote in her decision.
“Had her circumstances been discovered sooner, she would have avoided some of her injuries and the need for such an extended hospitalization. She would likely have returned to Merrill Gardens within a month or two.”
Mosenson needed minimal assistance before the fall, and her doctor expected her to be his first patient to live into her 100s.
Merrill Gardens argued that Moseson was not on the floor as long as her family believed, and that the delay in her being found did not lead to her death.
The facility also said Moseson was negligent in not buying or renting a wearable emergency pendant that she could have used to call for help.
The arbiter disagreed.
“Her choice to rely upon the other well-established and advertised monitoring systems was reasonable under these circumstances,” Cochran wrote.