Palm Village Retirement Community in Reedley and a nurse in its employ are being sued by a family who alleges the nurse’s failure to care for their ill mother led to her death.
According to the lawsuit filed May 7 in Fresno County Superior Court, Harriett Randal, 93, was a resident at Palm Village on West Herbert Avenue in Reedley last November when she became ill.
About 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 22, Randal was nauseated and had diarrhea, and told one of her caregivers that her stomach hurt and she did not feel well, the lawsuit says. The caregiver told registered nurse Agnes Jaymalin, who was in charge of Randal’s care, about Randal’s medical and pain issues, but Jaymalin refused to go to Randal, scolded the caregiver for bothering her and said Randal “would be just fine,” the lawsuit says.
About 3 a.m. Randal’s symptoms worsened and another caregiver told Jaymalin that Randal was extremely ill and was “worse.” Jaymalin again refused to go to Randal, the lawsuit says.
When the nursing shift changed at 6 a.m., a new nurse arrived and found Randal “unresponsive, sweaty, clammy and with labored breathing,” the lawsuit says. Randal was sent to Adventist Medical Center-Selma, where she died on Nov. 24.
Jaymalin could not be reached for comment.
Palm Village director David Reimer said Tuesday he had not been served with the complaint, and could not comment about Randal’s care because of patient confidentiality. He also would not say if Jaymalin continues to work at the nursing home.
Reimer, however, said he stands behind Palm Village’s 73-year history. “We have a diligent staff here and we believe our reputation reflects that.” Palm Village is owned by Mennonite Brethren Homes Inc.
Palm Village, according to Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare, has a five-star “much above average” overall quality rating. However, the home was given a two-star, “below average” rating for registered nurse staffing.
According to the government report, Palm Village has 27 minutes of registered nurse hours per resident per day, slightly less than half the California average of 55 minutes. The national average is 50 minutes of registered nurse hours per resident per day.
The Reedley home provided one hour and three minutes of licensed nurse staff hours per resident per day, which was below the California average of one hour and 53 minutes and the national average of one hour and 40 minutes, according to Medicare.gov. The home, however, provided three hours and 16 minutes a day of certified nursing assistant staffing hours per resident per day, which exceeded the state average of two hours and 39 minutes and the national average of two hours and 27 minutes.
Reimer disputed the Medicare.gov staffing numbers for registered nursing and licensed nursing staff time. “Something is not quite right in those calculations,” he said. Palm Village provides 3.6 to 3.9 hours of staffing per resident per day, which exceeds the state-required staffing ratios of 3.2 hours a day per resident, he said.
“I’ve been here 26 years and I’m impressed with the place,” Reimer said. “There’s a lot of hardworking people here.”
Randal’s family live in the central San Joaquin Valley, with the exception of a sister, said Monrae English, a Fresno attorney representing Randal’s adult children. They could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The family is asking for an unspecified amount for damages for pain and suffering, and for special and general damages for malice, fraud, recklessness and oppression.