California hospital defends discharge of 84-year-old woman dumped at locked Alzheimer’s facility

College Medical Center employees followed proper procedures last month when they discharged an 84-year-old woman with dementia, and then placed her in a cab that dropped her off at a locked Alzheimer’s treatment center in the middle of the night, hospital officials said Wednesday.

“College Medical Center is committed to providing its patients with superior service and quality of care,” the Long Beach hospital said in a statement. “College Medical Center fully complies with all regulations concerning patient discharge planning and transportation.”

About 6 p.m. Jan. 12, Savina Genoese Zerbi threatened to kill herself with a nail file in the first week of her stay at Regency Palms, an assisted-living and memory-care facility in Long Beach, said her daughter, Costanza Genoese Zerbi.

She was transported by ambulance to College Medical Center, a 121-bed acute care hospital on Pacific Avenue.

Costanza Genoese Zerbi spent about four hours in College Medical Center’s Emergency Room waiting for her mother to be evaluated, but left the hospital about 11 p.m. to attend to her children.

A short time later, she said, a hospital employee told her in a phone conversation her mother would be discharged and transported back to Regency Palms.

“I told him they needed to call Regency Palms and they would send a responsible person to collect her at the hospital or to receive her (at the assisted-care facility),”  Costanza Genoese Zerbi said. “I didn’t feel safe transporting her in my car.”

She was shocked to later learn College Medical Center apparently put her mother in a cab that dumped her off outside of Regency Palms on Eighth Street on in the early hours of Jan. 13.

Security video shows Savina Genoese Zerbi, clad in a bathrobe and sandals, frantically trying for 25 minutes to get inside the locked facility.

It’s unclear how long she remained outdoors or how she gained entry to Regency Palms. Christine Tomlinson, executive director of Regency Palms, declined to comment Wednesday.

College Medical Center said patients have a right to choose their method of transportation upon discharge from the hospital.

“This particular patient denied College Medical Center’s assistance with transportation and insisted that she be taken to her place of residence via public transportation,” the hospital said in its statement.

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