LONG BEACH, CA (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) - A woman is demanding answers after her 84-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s, was left outside a locked California healthcare facility after she was discharged from the hospital.
The sight of seeing her 84-year-old mother, Savina Zerbi, on security video trying to get inside the Regency Palms memory-care home where she lives is heartbreaking for her daughter Constanza Zerbi.
"[It’s] really sad. I mean, this is my mom, who a year ago was driving,” Constanza Zerbi said.
Savina Zerbi has Alzheimer’s disease, which her daughter says has left her with “the cognitive abilities of a toddler.” The 84-year-old was especially vulnerable because she had only recently moved to the facility and was depressed.
"She cannot be alone. So, Regency Palms is very aware of her condition, and they have acted to protect her,” Constanza Zerbi said.
Constanza Zerbi says she had no problem with the fact that her mother’s care facility sent the 84-year-old to local hospital College Medical Center for treatment after she threatened to harm herself.
But what she can’t understand and is demanding answers for is why the hospital released her mother at midnight without letting her know. Constanza Zerbi alleges the 84-year-old was then put in a taxi and sent back to Regency Palms, where she was simply left outside to fend for herself.
"The hospital did nothing to ensure – we even told them she has Alzheimer's,” Constanza Zerbi said.
Video shows Savina Zerbi banging on a door and windows outside of Regency Palms in the early morning of Jan. 13, then walking through a dark alley in a bathrobe and sandals. She was finally let in by a security guard about 25 minutes later.
"My mom is lucky that she didn't wander off or get kidnapped or hurt,” Constanza Zerbi said.
Constanza Zerbi says the hospital initially told her that her mother would be admitted, but hours later, she received a call from Regency Palms, not the hospital, that the 84-year-old had returned to the care facility.
Hospital staff have set up a meeting with Constanza Zerbi. They say the hospital complies with all regulations concerning patient discharge.
"I am hoping that they apologize,” Constanza Zerbi said. “I would just like to see the hospital operate in a more responsible way.”
Constanza Zerbi says she has filed a complaint with the state but does not plan to sue.
According to state records, College Medical Center was found to have five deficiencies in 2018. The yearly average for hospitals of the same size is no more than two.