Assisted living facility neglected dying Alzheimer patient, lawsuit claims

On June 25, 2016, Eugene Kosmin, a resident of The Bristal Assisted Living at Woodcliff Lake died in hospital. Kosmin’s death was allegedly a direct result of negligence on the part of the staff at the assisted living facility, according to his son, who filed at suit against the facility on August 15 at the Bergen County Superior Court.

In the lawsuit, Kosmin’s son Scott—the executor of the estate—alleges that staff members at the assisted living facility did not adequately monitor the health of his ailing 88-year-old father. And for that reason, his health went from bad to worse drastically in the course of three weeks.

In an interview, Egg Harbor attorney Patrick T. D’Arcy said that the staff “should have sent him to hospital sooner than they did. They were not vigilant in their care.” D’Arcy filed the suit on Scott’s behalf.

More specifically, the suit stated that in the period between June 1 and June 24, Kosmin’s condition began changing. Problems that developed include dehydration, sepsis, kidney failure, and urinary tract infection among others.

Certain infections are common in people suffering from advanced Alzheimer disease, and they are a frequent cause of death. These infections include severe skin infections, urinary tract infections and pneumonia. Among all infections, pneumonia is the leading cause of death. As the Alzheimer disease advances, poorly coordinated swallowing and diminished lung function due to poor mobility often lead to aggressive pneumonia as saliva and food enters the airway. While pneumonia may be the final condition, Alzheimer’s is the real cause.

All that notwithstanding, Scott believes that reasonable measures could have been taken to avoid his father’s death. And he is not alone in his plight.

According to California Department of Social Services spokesman Michael Weston, 46 assisted living facilities in the state were closed for various infractions in 2016 and 48 were put under probation. The agency, which is responsible for licensing such facilities, reports that even more disciplinary actions such as these have occurred in 2017.

Before having a loved one admitted into an assisted living facility, it is advisable to carry out thorough research on prospective assisted living facilities to confirm that there have been no lawsuits against it.