UPDATE (12:13 p.m. PT) — A $1.8 million wrongful death lawsuit is being lodged against Healthcare at Foster Creek, the Portland nursing home where nearly 30 people died after contracting COVID-19.
The lawsuit alleges negligence led to the death of Judith Joy Jones, a 75-year-old resident of the care facility. Jones’ daughter, Angela Brown, filed the suit on behalf of her mother against St. Jude Operating Company, the nursing home owner, and Benicia Senior Living, the management company.
On April 18, the lawsuit states, a Foster Creek nurse discovered Jones had a 101.5-degree fever. Jones was transferred to Adventist Medical Center Emergency Room in Portland and was diagnosed with COVID-19.
She never left.
“Defendants tested residents for COVID- 19 but did not timely or accurately inform residents or family members of results. Defendants downplayed the COVID-19 risk, lied about their safety practices, and failed to share crucial information about the dangerous conditions at Foster Creek and the spread of COVID-19,” the lawsuit alleges.
Jones' family was not informed of the facility's deficient practices or that the situation was so dire the facility could no longer admit new residents, the lawsuit states.
"To the contrary, defendants continued to represent to Ms. Jones’s daughter a positive yet false picture of defendants’ compliance with proper infection control at Foster Creek," the lawsuit filed by attorney Bonnie Richardson, at the firm Richardson Wright, alleges.
Staff emphasized that Jones was in a separate and highly secure unit within the facility and had additional protection and safety.
" ... defendants failed to provide accurate or sufficient information about COVID-19 conditions at Foster Creek to allow Ms. Jones’s daughter to make informed decisions regarding her care, including whether to remove or transfer Ms. Jones from Foster Creek," the lawsuit states.
On April 16, state officials released an inspection report of the facility, noting employees did not wash their hands, failed to properly socially distance and were not trained in how to slow the spread of infection.
In addition, the inspection report reads, “interviews with facility staff revealed staff did not feel like they had adequate staff to meet the needs of the residents.”
The state ordered the Southeast Portland nursing home to shut down earlier this month after it found it could not adhere to basic infection control standards.
Nursing homes across the country and in Oregon have been particularly hit hard by the coronavirus. Earlier this week, the White House recommended states test all nursing home residents and staff.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has instructed state officials to test all nursing home residents and staff for COVID-19 in the coming weeks.
Oregon has not yet called for widespread testing at nursing facilities.