Woman’s Death Prompts Care Home Investigation

Times Staff Writer

A Costa Mesa convalescent home is being investigated by health inspectors to determine if inadequate care contributed to the death of a 76-year-old patient who had a large bedsore on her back, a state health official said Friday.

Lola Landers, 76, died last week at a nursing home in Long Beach, but she had lived most of the last 18 months at the Port Mesa Convalescent Hospital in Costa Mesa. The woman’s son, Thomas McCarter of Georgia, said he discovered the grapefruit-size bedsore when he viewed her body at a funeral home.

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office is conducting an examination of the body to determine the exact cause of death. Initially, her death was attributed to pneumonia and heart failure, a spokesman said.


Ronald Reynolds, administrator of the 139-bed facility, denied that Landers received inadequate care and said that the bedsores could have developed while she was hospitalized elsewhere. She spent a week at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana in July with a broken hip and was a patient there again in August. A spokeswoman for the hospital said bedsores were seen on Landers’ heels and buttocks when she was readmitted the second time.

Died 2 Days After Transfer

Landers was also admitted to Medical Center of Garden Grove earlier this month for treatment of fever, lung congestion and ulcerous bedsores. She was transferred to the Long Beach nursing home only two days before she died.

In a statement, Reynolds said that in the 18 months Landers lived at the nursing home, she was hospitalized elsewhere about 35% of the time. He added that the state Department of Health Services was required to begin the investigation only because a complaint had been filed.

“Such an investigation is a natural procedure,” he said.

Reynolds added that his facility “provided good care to a patient who was difficult to care for due to her deteriorating multiple (medical) problems.”

Jackie Lincer, the Santa Ana district administrator for convalescent-home licensing for the Department of Health Services, said the current investigation was begun when the complaint was filed with her office earlier this week.

She declined to say who lodged the complaint against Port Mesa.

“The main focus is patient care, but we don’t go into in these things with blinders. We’ll look at everything. Poor patient care is the complaint we receive the most,” Lincer said.


She added that the investigation would take several weeks to complete.

Bob Dambacher, a Los Angeles County deputy coroner, said an examination of Landers’ body had begun but would not be completed for several days. He said the examination was being conducted on the request of state health investigators.

“Our report will be given to them when it is completed,” he said.