A Pennsylvania senior living community temporarily was required to operate under a provisional license and now is facing a lawsuit after the administrator allegedly ignored a state health official’s advice and discharged a resident with “multiple serious medical conditions” to his home via a three-hour ride from a ride-hailing service.
Family members of the late resident, Eugene Hamill, allege in their lawsuit against Twin Cedars Senior Living and its successor, Little Walker Holdings, that the car ride led to his death.
According to the complaint, Hamill moved to the 37-bed for-profit personal care home in Shohola, PA, on July 6, 2018, and had hypertension, heart disease and bone cancer. In September 2018, said the plaintiffs’ attorney, Steven McConnell of the Killino Firm’s Philadelphia office, Administrator Tamara Singer informed a licensing supervisor at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services of Hamill’s discharge plan, which included a ride of more than three hours, via a ride-hailing service, to his home in Toms River, NJ.
“Although the licensing supervisor warned that this was an unsafe discharge and could legally constitute abandonment of an older adult by a caregiver, Singer sent Hamill home by Uber on Sept. 11, 2018,” the law firm stated.
During the ride, Hamill reportedly began vomiting and became unresponsive, according to a DHS notice cited by the law firm. By the end of the ride, he had had a stroke and a heart attack, requiring transport to Barnabas Health Community Medical Center, where he was intubated, placed on a ventilator and admitted to the intensive care unit, the law firm said. “Hamill was eventually transferred to another nursing facility, where he spent the last year of his life; he died on Sept. 26, 2019,” according to the law firm.
The DHS revoked Twin Cedars’ license on Dec. 20, 2018, for failure to provide a 30-day discharge notice and for violating the licensing regulation that “a resident may not be neglected, intimidated, physically, or verbally abused, mistreated, subjected to corporal punishment, or disciplined in any way,” the law firm said. The community reportedly was required to operate under a provisional license and was directed to implement measures to ensure that the community would not violate state regulations in the future.
Twin Cedars now is operating under a full license, according to the DHS. The community was inspected Dec. 10, the department said in a Dec. 20 letter to the company, and was found to be “in substantial compliance with the regulations … that can be adequately assessed at this time,” although “[t]he licensing inspector was unable to complete a full inspection because this is a new legal entity operating the home.”
Someone other than Singer now is listed as Twin Cedars’ administrator on the community’s website. The community has not responded to media requests for comment.