Los Osos elder abuse trial continues today

A 96-year-old woman suffered severe, potentially life-threatening bed sores because her caregivers and two doctors allowed an anti-psychotic drug to be wrongfully administered to her in 2007, her lawyer argued.

Attorney Jody Moore spent nearly all day Thursday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court making her closing arguments on behalf of her client, plaintiff Marian Eileen Kengel.

The lawsuit — brought by Kengel’s daughter, Joan Graham, on her behalf — alleges a variety of civil claims, including negligence and elder abuse, against Edwin and Jane Ingan, the owners of the Los-Osos-based care center Sunrise V.

The suit also alleges several claims against Los Osos-based doctor Robert Schingler, and charges negligence against San Luis Obispo physician Grace Crittenden, who Moore said was the least responsible of the defendants and “did a lot of things right.”

The trial — which started jury selection on July 27 — is set to continue today in Judge Teresa Estrada-Mullaney’s courtroom at 9 a.m.

Each of the defendants has denied responsibility with regard to severe wounds on Kengel’s bottom and feet.

Moore argued that her client was given the anti-psychotic drug Haldol over the course of a few months in late 2007, leading to depression and a wound on her bottom, while she spent much of her time immobile during the final weeks of her care at Sunrise V.

The sore on her bottom required surgery and 14 months of healing, Moore said.

“A doctor who was not her doctor (alleged to have been Schingler) gave Mrs. Kengel a dose that was eight times stronger than the lowest possible dose,” Moore said.

“This was about blunting her senses instead of respecting the life of a woman who lived 94 years on this Earth.”

Moore is expected to continue the final part of her closing argument today before lawyers for the defendants make theirs.

Graham said Kengel has “never been the same” after the Ingans took her to Schingler, who was not her primary care physician, and he prescribed Haldol.

The Ingans oversaw the administration of the drug at the care center over the next several weeks before her surgery in January 2008, Moore said.

The Ingans wanted her on a medication that would stop her “uncontrollable behavior,” including her calling out, Moore said, and didn’t seek the family’s consent before bringing her to Schingler — which Moore said violated civil law.

Crittenden, Kengel’s primary care doctor, reduced the dosage by half after noticing the elderly woman wasn’t able to communicate and seemed zoned out, Moore continued.

Kengel suffered from dementia, and because Haldol is commonly given to people with mental illness, it shouldn’t have been given to her client, Moore argued.

Schingler saw Kengel only once and prescribed a year’s worth of medication, Moore said, which was inappropriate.

Neither doctor scheduled a follow-up visit soon enough to see how it was affecting her, Moore said.

“She was malnourished,” Moore said. “She looked like a concentration camp victim.”