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San Diego County, California

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Randy Walton
Randy Walton
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Fancy Nursing Home, Shocking Death

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Because part of my law practice involves representing seniors in nursing homes who have been subjected to abuse or neglect, I am frequently asked for recommendations for a “good” nursing home. I respond that I don’t know any. But on the other hand, I tell the person asking, I don’t necessarily know the “bad” ones either. One thing I have learned, in cases against fancy chain homes or the mom-and-pops – the price one pays for care is not necessarily indicative of the quality of care one receives.

Take this tragic elder abuse story in Los Angeles County.

When Elmore Kittower’s wife placed him an upscale nursing home in Calabasas called Silverado Senior Living it was the first time in their 49 years together that they lived apart. The disabilities Elmore suffered because of a stroke made it too difficult for Rita Kittower to care for her husband at home.

And when Elmore died in the facility approximately two weeks after his 80th birthday, Rita had been told his death was a peaceful one. She believed his death was meant to be. Then she received a jolting phone call the day after Elmore’s funeral.

She had bade a tearful goodbye to her mate of 49 years, who had passed away in an exclusive assisted living facility in Calabasas. “He just stopped breathing,” Kittower said she was told by a staff member.

A woman claiming to be an employee of the nursing home told Rita that her 80-year-old husband’s death had been anything but peaceful. She said Elmore Kittower had been beaten to death by someone on the staff.

“She just couldn’t stand what she saw,” Rita said. “She had to tell me what happened.”

The woman said a staff member had punched Elmore in the eye and wrapped a towel around his head in an apparent attempt to suffocate him.

“I felt like I was going to throw up” Rita recalled. “I said I can’t listen to this.”

She hung up the phone, but not before getting the woman’s number. Rita asked her son to call the woman back. He elicited more details from the caller. When Rita asked about it, he said, “You don’t want to know.”

The sheriff has investigated the matter, but the district attorney has decided not to prosecute the employee of the facility, who has since been let go for “policy violations.” A spokesman for Silverado Senior Living said the company had completed its own investigation and “found nothing to substantiate any wrongdoing.”