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Elder-abuse lawsuit filed against USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

Verdugo Hills Hospital

Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale on Monday, June 4, 2012.

(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

An elder-abuse lawsuit was filed against the USC Verdugo Hills Hospital after an 80-year-old patient suffered “avoidable” pressure sores, which later became infected, after hospital staff placed a boot on her foot too tightly, court records show.

Beverly Harmon was admitted to the hospital last August for hip surgery after falling at home and breaking her hip, which her attorney said made her at-risk to developing pressure sores because of her limited mobility, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week.

The hospital “just flat out ignored” her needs and failed to turn and reposition her body at least every two hours to relieve pressure on her skin or keep her properly hydrated, the lawsuit states.

A representative from the hospital could not immediately be reached.

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During her hospital stay, Harmon broke her toe, though her attorney Stephen Garcia did not know how.

The hospital staff subsequently put her foot in an “extraordinarily tight” boot and then neglected to check the boot, according to Garcia. The boot created a hard rubbing surface on her “already brittle skin,” which caused the pressure sores, he added.

“To compound that, it got horribly infected,” Garcia said. “She had to undergo multiple surgeries to save her leg and her skin.”

The lawsuit claims staffing shortages and training deficiencies at the hospital led to Harmon’s injuries.

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