Court awards $160,000 to family

The family of a 96-year-old woman who developed a bedsore on her lower back was awarded $161,264 on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed against her caregivers, but two local doctors also named in the suit were found not responsible for any wrongdoing.

Caregivers Edwin and Jane Ingan — owners and operators of 10 care facilities in the county — were found to be negligent for their role in taking Marian Eileen Kengel to Robert Schingler, who wasn’t her primary care doctor.

Jurors also returned a verdict finding that Schingler and Dr. Grace Crittenden, Kengel’s personal physician, weren’t negligent in prescribing the medication Haldol to Kengel.

Schingler, who’s based in Los Osos, was accused of other violations, including battery and elder abuse against Kengel. Jurors cleared him of those charges.

Schingler prescribed Haldol to Kengel, who developed a bedsore while a resident at the Sunrise V care facility in Los Osos. Kengel’s family alleged the wound was caused by her immobility and the drug acted as a chemical restraint.

“I have to say that my faith in the jury system has been affirmed,” Crittenden said outside the courtroom. “I’m relieved.”

The Ingans said they made a mistake in taking Kengel to Schingler and plan to be careful to check their emergency contact information in their residents’ charts in the future.

“We had nothing to hide from the beginning,” Edwin Ingan said, calling some of the charges such as elder abuse and battery “a bunch of lies.”

The plaintiff’s lawyers accused the Ingans of intentionally keeping Kengel’s family in the dark by not seeking their consent before taking her to Schingler.

Jury foreman Cynthia Jenkins of San Luis Obispo said it was difficult for the jury to come to its decision after two days of deliberations. She said she felt concern for each of the parties involved in the suit.

“We didn’t think anyone was intentionally malicious,” Jenkins said. “We did think there was some carelessness (regarding the Ingans). But it was a tough spot for everyone.”