After a 97-year-old patient at the facility allegedly wandered outside and died from the cold while trying to get back in, the Denver-area nursing home is now being sued for neglect.
#ICYMI: A new lawsuit alleges an assisted living facility in Louisville was negligent after Mary Jo Staub froze to death.
— Kati Weis (@KatiWeis) January 26, 2023
According to the Washington Post, the patient, named Mary Jo Staub, had been residing at the Balfour at Lavender Farms assisted care facility in Louisville, Colorado, since 2019.
Staub was locked out after midnight, as reportedly wandered outside of the facility in February 2022.
The 97-year-old elderly woman allegedly strolled around outside in subfreezing temperatures while only wearing pajamas, a robe, boots, and gloves, as the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit said the Fox News reports, “Once locked out, Mary Jo tried to walk around the northwest side of the building toward the nurses’ station for help. Using her walker, she trudged through the snow and climbed a snow mound.”
That night, it was around 15 degrees outside. the lawsuit said, adding that “a blood trail” was left in the snow behind her, stating, “At some point, she abandoned her walker and injured her ankle. She continued, crawling on her hands and knees 75 feet to the exit immediately adjacent to the nurses’ station.”
Staub was not located for nearly six hours in spite of her repeated cries for help and banging on the tower’s doors, the lawsuit claims. In the end, she passed away from hypothermia, in an autopsy referenced in the lawsuit.
The Post reported that around 4:40 a.m., the facility’s other resident ventured outdoors, and that’s when her body was found. Additionally, that resident rang a doorbell to re-enter after becoming locked outside. after an hour two employees allowed them back inside when they noticed the resident.
“In clear view of the Lavender Farms interior security cameras, while lying in front of the French doors adjacent to the nurses’ station,” as the lawsuit claimed, the Post reported, when they saw Staub’s body outside.
Prior to her passing, Staub was reportedly placed in a “skilled nursing” facility after experiencing a period of confusion, disorientation, and difficulty speaking, according to her family.
The CBS reported that the family claimed they requested the institution do safety checks on Staub every four hours between 8 p.m. due to her conditions and 6 a.m. Even though they were paying an additional $1,500 for heightened care, the family believes that the hospital did not carry out this care plan. The situation was instead looked into by Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment after local police declined to press criminal charges against the institution.
Elaine McManis, a department official who quickly “sent experts to the facility to investigate what occurred and ensure the safety of other residents,” said that Staub’s death left the department “deeply saddened.”
McManis said in a statement, “Where we found deficiencies, we required the facility to quickly make changes, and closely monitored the facility until it completed all corrective actions.”
In an attempt to “avoid criminal charges,” and for allegedly providing “lies and misleading statements” to investigators, Staub’s family is now suing the facility and several employees.
In a report by the Post, the allegations made against the defendants in the complaint include felony murder, negligence leading to a wrongful death, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. A jury trial is being requested by the family.