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Media Coverage

 

January 19, 2007

OAKLAND Dementia patients mistreated, suit says Elder abuse, fraud alleged at rest home near Lake Merritt

An Oakland care home for Alzheimer's and dementia patients has been sued by the families of three former patients for alleged mistreatment.

Lakeside Park, on Perkins Street near Lake Merritt, is "baiting-and-switching, and then culling-and-weeding" to ensure itself a "steady supply of clients, with a fat profit margin," said the suit filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland.



The center has not yet responded in court to the lawsuit, which includes allegations of elder abuse, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.



Rebecca Cockrill, the care home's executive director and a named defendant in the suit, did not respond to requests for comment Thursday. A spokesman for A.F. Evans Co. Inc. in Oakland, which manages Lakeside Park, was unavailable for comment.



Lakeside Park's Web site describes the center as "a community dedicated to caring for the special needs of individuals living with Alzheimer's disease and related memory disorders."



"It's very posh," Felicia Curran, an Oakland attorney who filed the suit, said Thursday.



"It holds itself out as being a cut above the ordinary rest home," Curran said. "But why are they luring unsuspecting families in with promises of state-of-the-art care? They're pulling the rug from under them, evicting them and dumping them in emergency rooms and forcing them to pay for private caregivers."



Named as plaintiffs in the case are the families of George Sagonowsky, who died at a hospital at the age of 92; Raffaella Mancuso, 95; and Marie Munzell, 92.



Munzell, who has Alzheimer's, was "dumped" at a local hospital emergency room on Dec. 15 and refused readmittance to Lakeside Park after her son complained about her care, the suit said. "After a week of nightmarish events, I honestly did not think she was going to survive," Michael Munzell said Thursday.



Sagonowsky, a retired professor, fell several times while at the rest home, the suit said. His daughter, Christina, repeatedly complained about his care and was told to hire private caregivers, the suit said. Lakeside Park tried to evict her father, who became ill at the center and died at a hospital of heart failure, Curran said.



Mancuso was neglected, improperly fed, and forced to pay for her deceased husband's share of their contract for 16 months after he died in 2004, the suit said.



In 2005, Lakeside Park was cited by the state Department of Social Services for allegedly failing to supervise a resident not involved in the suit, records show. In response to Christina Sagonowsky's complaints, the state cited the rest home in September for being inadequately staffed at times.

Many nursing homes maximize their own profits at the expense of their highly vulnerable elderly and disabled residents.
National Senior Citizens Law Center
Many nursing homes maximize their own profits at the expense of their highly vulnerable elderly and disabled residents.
National Senior Citizens Law Center
Many nursing homes maximize their own profits at the expense of their highly vulnerable elderly and disabled residents.
National Senior Citizens Law Center
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