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Wrongful Death, Negligence Suits Filed Against California Nursing Home

Craig McClellan

Two wrongful death suits and a third lawsuit have been filed by different families against St. Edna Subacute & Rehabilitation Center and its owner, Covenant Care, following alleged misconduct at the Santa Ana home.

All three suits claim that the nursing home showed negligence and a lack of care in cases that left two men dead and one woman severely brain damaged. The incidents have sparked questions regarding California skilled care homes, specifically those operated by Covenant Care.

As reported by the OC Register, since 2004, hundreds of California skilled-care centers and nursing homes have divvied $880 million in additional funding from the state. The money was meant to increase the amount of staff and wages at institutions that support Medi-Cal patients.

Still, as California Watch discovered, more than 200 of the homes that received additional funding cut stuff - even letting nursing ratios fall below the state-imposed minimum.

13 homes run by Covenant Care, including St. Edna, were among those that cut funding. Yet even with cuts to the staff, Covenant managed to give facility leaders large bonuses based on higher profits.

Many are questioning whether these profits came at the expense of healthcare for loved ones. As more of the story is uncovered, this certainly seems to be the case.

The wrongful death lawsuits filed against St. Edna include the family of T.J. Jackson, who was admitted to the home in order to recover from a leg surgery. Instead, he suffered from lack of food, dehydration and eventually an infection that worked its way into his bloodstream and shut down his kidneys. Hospital officials have denied responsibility for Jackson's death.

Barbara Lefforge was also admitted to St. Edna to recover from surgery, but less than a day after admittance, she was given an overdose of morphine, resulting in severe brain damage. After recovering from foot surgery, Barbara had to learn how to walk all over again.