Deborah S. Calvert
March 13, 2013
Mark Zahner DOJ-BMFEA
RE: Wrongful death by Sun Healthcare Group Inc of Evelyn M Calvert
Dear Mr. Zahner,
In response to your recent email, you stated that you thoroughly investigated the matter of my mother’s death (and four other deaths, three I witnessed) at Sun Healthcare Group Inc’s nursing facility “Sunbridge Newport Beach” 2002-2003. I remind you that this happened while Sun was committed to a 2001 California State Injunction and YOU were head of the governing agency responsible to prosecute! You state that the reasons for your decision had been presented to me –Can you tell me when and can you forward to me those reasons in writing? Because I must be in a coma, I have no recollection of such presentation. Assistant Attorney General Claude Vanderwold did visit the malpractice law firm of Andres & Andres that I hired to successfully sue a corrupt elder abuse attorney, Daniel Leipold, and it was there that Mr. Vanderwold stated very clearly in my presence to my attorney Eugen Andres that the DOJ-BMFEA did NOT hold Sun responsible for anything at Sunbridge Newport in it’s September, 2005, settlement of $2.5 Million. Mr. Vanderwold said that was only for citations in other Sun Healthcare Group Inc facilities in California. When Mr. Andres asked why not, Mr. Vanderwold said “We just didn’t”. That is not presenting me with reasons why the numerous Dept of Health citations were not properly prosecuted by you. Clearly deaths caused by lack of staffing and broken equipment. Stella Carter, Richard Laga, Betty Harness, the man in Rm 2B Oct 2003 and my mother Evelyn Calvert died because Sun committed the crime of violating the 2001 California State Injunction. Dr. L Scott Stoney even stated to me in 2006 when I picked up his Medical Review “those bastards killed your mother”. The evidence I have in my mother’s medical records coupled with the Dept of Health citations were valued by an expert elder abuse attorney hired by Andres & Andres at $500,000-$1,000,000. Yet you never prosecuted Sun?
I’m shocked that your agency rushed to settle with Sun in Sept 2005 while the civil lawsuit I filed in July, 2005 for wrongful death hadn’t yet presented evidence in court. In June, 2006, I filed with the Orange County Superior Court the Medical Review from Dr Stoney declaring Sun killed my mother. Sun’s CEO Richard K Matros was well aware our lawsuit would include Dr Stoney’s testimony and would be damaging. Therefore Sun Healthcare Group Inc’s then CEO, Richard K Matros, defrauded you, by entering into that settlement. Mr. Matros was a personal friend of Dr Stoney’s and I understand they discussed my case on various occasions. You should have investigated because in my case these two seemed to “set up” each other by engaging in “planted telephone messages” ordering to withhold hypertensive medications (to a stroke patient no less!), and other intriguing situations involving setting up Dr Stoney with a high priced call girls at Laker’s games (November, 2003). All very strange, and interesting enough to have had investigated.
I do not expect you to re-open the case of my mother’s long suffering that resulted in her death. Yes it was sad but my concern now is to get answers why and how the BMFEA allowed overall conditions at Sunbridge Newport to become so horrific that all those patients died. Neglect from lack of staffing causing both gangrene and fecal impaction, and even known broken equipment. I would like to know why you did not file contempt proceedings to protect my mother as soon as Mr. Richard Laga’s gangrene was determined to be the cause of his death from lack of staffing in July, 2003. Why instead did you authorize the DOJ-BMFEA agents lead an intense investigation of the employees of a San Diego county Sun facility because a patient did not get her eyedrops? That is exactly what the ElderAbuseExposed.com blog says you folks do at the BMFEA, you pick the “low hanging fruit”, the easy pickings that maintain your conviction records. You go after lowly workers, the employees who have no legal representation –instead of going after the employers who create the conditions that foster the neglect. And then you dropped the charges in that San Diego case against the employees making a mockery of the whole process. First of all you knew through a citation issued by the Dept of Health that Stella Carter died when an overworked nurse did not fill a physician’s order for “stat”. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Sun prior to August 1, 2002 when my mother was admitted to Sunbridge Newport. In June, 2003, I wrote to you and had a telephone conference call with Mr. Vanderwold and Dolores Otting. Your investigator Joe Fendrick met me in early June, 2003, and visited the Sunbridge facility where he saw the condemned HVAC (by OSHPD May 15, 2003). You knew or should have known that equipment was condemned and a warning was issued by its employee Chuck DeCapite on June 4, 2003, “The need for urgency was discussed this date, NO EXCEPTIONS”. Jackie Lincer at the OC Dept of Health then knew Richard Laga was dying from his gangrene in July, 2003, as even a citation was issued. Yet you allowed Sun and it’s scruge to fester until in October, 2003, when two more patients died and my mother was fatally harmed by a “planted telephone message to withhold all hypertensive mediations” from Dr Stoney. How do you think that makes me feel, considering we were watching patients die in Newport Beach? This is not something easily forgotten. Why did you not wait for Dr Stoney’s testimony in June, 2006, before settling with Sun for $2.5 Million in Sept 2005 which would have only handed you a victory against Sun in a contempt proceeding? Citations were issued for the deaths, can you tell me that the deaths I witnessed were not crimes? Your office ignored those citations. That is my simple question to your Mr. Zahner, why?
I believe my correspondence has been clear, that my main concern is the fact you ignored the State Injunction against Sun which was obtained while Bill Lockyer was Attorney General. The State Injunction was dated 2001 and I complained in 2003, so why did you not uphold the law in respect to the patients I, and others, witnessed die in 2003? Several agencies had cited Sun for broken equipment that caused deaths to several people other than my mother. I was witness to what amounted to Sun Healthcare Group Inc’s crimes. You should have filed contempt of court against Sun, instead you turned a blind eye. I need to understand why.
I do understand that HIPPA laws prevent you discussing their individual cases with me. HOWEVER you appear to be hiding behind HIPPA laws of protecting the other victims. Why did you not ask the various victims if they wanted to share and pool information so that we could have presented a united front, instead of keeping each of us in the dark about your decision making process –which defies credulity. There is not justification for your ignoring the crimes I saw and which the other agencies documented with citations that you continue to ignore.
I’ve asked you this before: Who was asleep at the helm of this Ship? Who needs to be replaced so that the citizens of California get the protection we deserve? Why do you let our government be cheated by allowing Sun and other chains to fraudulently get Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for rotten medical services which are not in the patient’s ‘best interest’? Based on what I have read in the ElderAbuseExposed.com blogs you are jeopardizing California’s entitlement to Federal Medicare matching funds because instead of making sure that nursing home medical care in the patient’s best interest, you ensure the chains ability to prey on the patients and grift without fear.
BECAUSE the California DOJ-BMFEA allowed Sun Heatlhcare to continue their crimes, Sun merged with Peak Medical in 2005 and again with Harborside in 2008. This led to serious injuries to patients in Oklahoma and at least one dehydration death in Kentucky resulting in a $42 Million jury award. That man never received even a glass of water in the 9 days he resided in a Sun facility. (Something my poor mother suffered from consistently in the last 10 months at Sunbridge Newport, coupled with U.T.I.s she ended up with complete renal failure.) This proves widespread fraud perpetrated by Sun which you allowed happen.
I DO trust that the current AG will investigate my claims and do her best to prevent further deaths like happened in the Sun Healthcare matter. Because it was a crime, 5 patients whom I knew died needlessly.
When asked why Horizon West Management was not criminally charged, AG spokesman Lynda Gledhill said investigators determined that the corporate owners were “very cooperative and took immediate action when the situation came to light”. How can I have confidence in you? Lynda Geldhill’s answer proves my point. You go after the low hanging fruit, the easy pickings, and you let the real wrongdoers (the corporate chain owners) of the hook provided that they turn on their employees viciously when a publicity spotlight compels you to finally take some action. That is why I think the AG’s new campaign against elder abuse will turn out to be just window dressing and really a fraud on the public.
Please tell me why I’m wrong. It was shocking to read in your email that you read every one of my many correspondence since you NEVER replied to me –over all these years –before ElderAbuseExposed.com recently exposed your avoidance of responsibilities.
I want to be wrong. And I still would like to meet you. I want answers. I’m a citizen and entitled to know why my government is not doing it’s job.
Deborah S. Calvert
cc; Claude Vanderwold, Asst. Attorney General @ DOJ, Jackie Lincer, Head @ Orange County Dept of Health; ElderAbuseExposed.com; Joseph Fendrick, DOJ-BMFEA Investigative Agent; AG Kamalla Harris