LONG BEACH, Calif. -- A California woman has filed a complaint with state officials after she says her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, was left alone in the middle of the night -- locked outside the care facility where she lives after being discharged from the hospital.
The case was first reported by the Long Beach Press-Telegram, which obtained surveillance video showing 84-year-old Savina Genoese Zerbi clad in only a bathrobe and slippers frantically banging at the door of Regency Palms, an assisted-living facility, at about 2:15 a.m. on Jan. 13.
The footage shows she was stranded for at least 25 minutes, at points wandering away from the front of the building and into a dark alley behind it before returning to knock on the door, the newspaper said.
The woman's daughter, Costanza Genoese Zerbi, said the 84-year-old with dementia was originally taken to College Medical Center on Jan. 12 for a psychological evaluation after she had threatened suicide.
Costanza went to meet her mother at the hospital, but after several hours, she returned home to check on her family.
Costanza said the hospital had told her it would make proper arrangements to safely transfer her mother, but instead it placed her in a cab that dumped her outside the Regency Palms.
"I was horrified," Costanza said. "My mom has a hard time piecing together anything. She thinks something that happened yesterday happened 10 years ago; she thinks something that happened 10 years ago happened today."
Costanza has since filed a complaint against College Medical Center with the California Department of Public Health.
The hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a statement to the Press-Telegram, the state agency said it "investigates all complaints or facility-reported incidents which may violate any state law or regulation within CDPH’s authority to enforce,” and that it could not comment further until an investigation is completed.
The newspaper reported that it's unknown how or when Savina was eventually let into the assisted-living facility.
However, Costanza said she places the onus entirely on the hospital.
"They put somebody with the cognitive abilities of a toddler in a cab," she said. "Somebody like that needs to be put in the hands of a responsible party."
The family said they work with a geriatric consultant to make sure Zerbi gets the care she needs.
The consultant tried to contact the hospital for details on her transfer to no avail, and was shocked the next morning to learn she had been left in street outside, the Press-Telegram reported.AlertMe