As reported by The San Francisco Chronicle in early February, a San Francisco elder abuse attorney filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that a shuttle bus company and its driver were negligent in the transport, care and death of an elderly dementia patient who went missing for ten days, and are thus liable for the patient’s wrongful death. The suit is styled: San Francisco County Superior Court, Case Number: CGC-12-518046.
The lawsuit alleges that MEDSAM Enterprises, its driver, San Francisco Paratransit and Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) engaged in elder abuse and negligence in the wrongful death of 73-year old dementia patient Kenneth Chin, who went missing for ten days after he was allegedly dropped off in the wrong location and not taken directly to his assisted living facility.
According to the lawsuit filed on Mr. Chin’s behalf, on February 24, 2011, Mr. Chin allegedly boarded a MEDSAM shuttle van, driven by Eugene Pearlman, for his regular shuttle ride from Irene Swindell’s Center for Adult Day Services to his home at Nacario’s Home #5, an assisted living facility. The lawsuit complaint states that when Mr. Chin did not arrive at the assisted living facility at his scheduled time, his conservator, JFCS, was notified as required. However the lawsuit is alleging that JFCS hampered search efforts by negligently failing to notify Mr. Chin’s family in a timely manner.
According to the attorney representing Mr. Chin’s interests, Ingrid Evans, “The three-hour notification delay by JFCS was critical to Chin’s safety especially since his dead body was found approximately one mile from his house. By the time the family was notified that Chin was missing, darkness had already set in and an approaching storm made search conditions extremely difficult.” Also according to Evans, “The bus driver had an obligation and a duty of care to walk Chin to the door and ensure his safe arrival due to Chin’s dementia,” said Evans. “Instead, no one knows for sure where Chin was dropped off. All we know is that he was left stranded in the freezing cold and wandered around San Francisco for days and died,” added Evans.
The San Francisco Chronicle that the lawsuit goes on to state that despite an alleged awareness that Mr. Chin required special attention due to his dementia, the bus driver allegedly failed to ensure Mr. Chin’s safe delivery to his home in a manner consistent with Mr. Chin’s special needs. Mr. Chin suffered from debilitating mental and emotional conditions that required him to be escorted from his transportation to his residence.
Mr. Chin suffered from dementia and required adult care, supervision and special transportation. Mr. Chin’s family believes that he was left to aimlessly wander for days without food or shelter and, as a result, he suffered a horrible death. Sadly, ten days after he disappeared, a man walking his dog found Mr. Chin’s body lying face down off the side of a path near the VA Hospital. As a Georgia attorney who regularly handles wrongful death cases, as well as cases that arise because of elder abuse and negligence, it is my desire that the Chin family receive the justice that they deserve, and are adequately compensated for this horrible tragedy.