SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — After suffering a stroke in January, an 79-year-old grandmother was placed in the care of the Smith Ranch Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in San Rafael.
The family says she was abused and neglected during her two-week stay. Photos and video provided by the family to KPIX 5 show bruising on one arm of the patient.READ MORE: Oakland Officials: 9 OPD Officers Disciplined After Investigating Racist, Sexist Social Media Posts
The family says it was at the hands of a staff member, who hit their grandmother with a call light button.
“It was extremely heartbreaking, because I know that my grandmother is paralyzed in the left side of her body, and she can’t move by herself,” said granddaughter Virginie Huang. “So she can’t defend herself, if someone is hitting her.”
Huang says when her mother reported it to the facility, staff suggested the patient may have caused her own injuries.
Speaking in Cantonese in a cell phone video, her grandmother recounted how the nurse hit her. She sustained injuries on her only working arm, making it difficult for the family to believe she hit herself.
Huang says there were other neglectful incidents during her grandmother’s short stay, including three falls off her bed.
“She crawled herself over to a cabinet and started banging against it, saying ‘Help me, Help me,’ and no one came for over an hour,” she recounted.
Huang added that her grandmother was also given boiling hot water to drink.READ MORE: UPDATE: Crews Contain Pleasanton Vegetation Fire Near Interstate 680; Evacuations Lifted
At the very least, the family wants an apology and the staff responsible to be held accountable.
“I just wish none of this ever happened and people weren’t so evil,” said Huang.
A statement from the Smith Ranch Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center reads:
“Smith Ranch Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is dedicated to providing quality care for the health, welfare and safety of all of its residents. We do not condone any form of abuse. All the staff at Smith Ranch are mandated reporters by law and are continuously trained in abuse prevention, identification and how to respond appropriately to allegations of abuse. All allegations of abuse are investigated thoroughly and reported to necessary authorities. Due to privacy laws and respect for our residents and employees, we cannot comment on any specific allegations.”
KPIX 5 also contacted the San Rafael Police Department. Their statement reads:
“The San Rafael Police Department takes reports of this type very seriously. We have assigned a Detective to this case who will be looking into all aspects of this case. We will also be working with Adult Protective Services and the Ombudsman to use all resources at our disposal. If we can determine that we have probable cause to make an arrest in this case, that will happen.”
“The reason why people should care about this is because this could happen to anyone, this could happen to anyone’s grandparents, anyone’s parents or even you when you’re older,” said Huang. “And it is a terrifying, disgusting thing.”MORE NEWS: PG&E Crews Responding to Outage Affecting Over 6,000 Customers in Mission, Twin Peaks
The family says they have since moved their grandmother to a nursing facility in San Francisco. So far, she is doing mentally and physically better.