Woman Dies After Ingesting Toxic Chemicals at Senior Care Facility

The news is the latest in a string of tragic events impacting senior care facilities.

By Mackenna Moralez
August 31, 2022

A 93-year-old woman has died after ingesting toxic chemicals at Atria senior living facility in San Mateo, California. The woman and two other residents were transported to the hospital after being mistakenly served dishwashing liquid as drinking juice.  

The senior care facility has been working with local authorities, but it has not been reported how the slip-up occurred. Police investigations have not ruled out negligence. 

“We concluded that whatever occurred we don’t think at this point, doesn’t mean we rule anything out, but at this point we don’t think it was an intentional act by someone trying to harm people,” Steve Wagstaffe, San Mateo’s district attorney, told ABC 7. “If it was people not being careful with the liquids and people suffered harm or death by it, that would be of course could be a very significant lawsuit out of it. Technically there is a thing in the criminal law called criminal negligence.” 

Atria senior living facility released the following statement: 

“When this occurred, our staff immediately contacted authorities, and the residents were transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. We are conducting our own internal investigation, and the employees involved have been suspended until this investigation concludes. We will continue working with the police and Department of Social Services to fully review and assess the incident, after which we will take additional actions as needed. The safety and well-being of our residents remain our top priorities at all times.” 

This isn’t the first report of poor senior care facility care. Earlier this month, an Arizona VA nursing home was closed after rats were discovered in the housing area. Over 20 residents between 70 and 106 were forced to evacuate the facility. There were no reports or incidents of the residents interacting with the pests.  

In Mississippi, 31 residents were evacuated by school buses from the Peach Tree Village assisted living facility due to flooding. According to CNN, 3 feet of water passed through the facility at one point. All residents have been reported safe and families are working to find temporary placements for them while the facility is repaired. 

Mackenna Moralez is the associate editor of Healthcare Facilities Today. 

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