Thursday, March 21, 2013
Elder abuse case includes Involuntary Manslaughter
Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) March 21, 2013 – In Sacramento, the operator of an elder-care facility is currently facing felony charges after the death of a resident.
The owner of Super Home Care, Silvia Cata, was arrested and charged with felony charges of elder abuse and involuntary manslaughter regarding the death of a woman in her care.
The resident, Georgia Holzmeister, was 88. She had dementia and received care at Super Home Care since 2007. She died from severe bedsores which resulted in sepsis, a toxic response to bacteria or germs. While bedsores can be difficult to avoid entirely, the emergency room doctor who treated her later told investigators that Holzmeister’s bedsores were typed Stage 4, among the worst he had ever witnessed.
“This is believed to be the first time California’s Department of Justice has filed manslaughter charges against an elder-care caregiver regarding resident care,” stated Palo Alto elder law attorney Michael Gilfix.
California has rarely pursued criminal prosecution of elder care workers. Allegations of elder abuse and neglect are typically handled in civil court. Cata faces get as much as 12 years in prison if convicted. Two additional allegations are that the victim suffered “great bodily injury” and the abuse she suffered caused her death. An involuntary manslaughter conviction carries a maximum of four years. Cata is currently in the Sacramento County Jail, in lieu of $300,000 bail.
Cata, her spouse and her adult daughter were listed as Holzmeister’s caregivers. Cata has been licensed in California to operate a residential elder care facility since 1996. Though she is licensed to care for as many as six individuals, she stated that she usually cares for two or three residents. Previously, Cata was cited by state licensing officials for dispensing over-the-counter medication without medical orders, poor record keeping, and caring for a resident who was found to need a higher level of skilled nursing care. Holzmeister’s family paid between $2,000 and $2,800 monthly for her care.
Individuals who suspect elder abuse or neglect can speak with an elder law attorney to pursue any concerns. It is not necessary to have proof of neglect or abuse; anyone with any concern that there may be abuse is encouraged to file a complaint so that an investigation can begin.
To learn more, visit Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP at http://www.gilfix.com/.
Gilfix & La Poll Associates LLP
2300 Geng Rd., Suite 200
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Telephone: (650) 493-8070