Family sues Eugene nursing home after alleged scabies-related death

The family of an Albany woman who died after allegedly contracting scabies at a Eugene nursing home is seeking up to $1.2 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Posted: Sep 16, 2019 1:44 PM
Updated: Sep 16, 2019 6:36 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- The family of an Albany woman who died after allegedly contracting scabies at a Eugene nursing home is seeking up to $1.2 million in a wrongful death, negligence lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit filed in Lane County, Elizabeth Bruce died in 2016 and had been living at SouthTowne Living Center in Eugene since 2013, where they say she became infested with the burrowing mites. They allege when Bruce died, she was malnourished and covered in rashes. 

The lawsuit alleges staff at the facility failed to notify the Oregon Health Department and the family about the outbreak and did not give her the needed medical care to combat the infestation.

The lawsuit also says staff at the facility was not properly trained, and her residential file was either destroyed or went missing.

Along with SouthTowne Living Center, facilities owner Ageia Health Services and staff members are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Phil Emerson with Ageia Health Services says the staff members named in the lawsuit are no longer with the company and they have hired an outside management company.

"We're doing a great job now. The residents there are well cared for. We've had management changes," Emerson said. "Part of the reason that was done is we wanted to bury the notion that somebody was covering up for somebody else."

Emerson said he could not comment directly on the allegations. 

The family is seeking a jury trial.

Court records show this is the third lawsuit filed by family members of those who died at SouthTowne. Those lawsuits also allege they died after getting scabies.

The former executive director was convicted of criminal mistreatment in 2018, court documents show.

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