A 93-year-old woman died and two others were hospitalized after they were served dishwashing liquid at an assisted living facility in San Mateo, California, police said.
Three ambulances were called to the facility Sunday night to treat the residents who were “mistakenly” served dishwashing liquid instead of juice, Atria Senior Living said. One of the residents was then pronounced dead at a hospital.
The facility said it is working with local authorities, and the San Mateo Police Department said it is investigating the case. The police department did not immediately respond to a request for more information.
“When this occurred, our staff immediately contacted authorities, and the residents were transported to the hospital for evaluation and treatment,” a statement from Atria Senior Living said. “We are conducting our own internal investigation, and the employees involved have been suspended until this investigation concludes. We will continue working with the police and department of social services to fully review and assess the incident, after which we will take additional actions as needed. The safety and well-being of our residents remain our top priorities at all times. Out of respect for the people involved, we cannot comment further.”
Gertrude Elizabeth Murison Maxwell, 93, was the resident who died, her family told KRON4. Marcia Cutchin, her daughter, told KRON4 that Maxwell arrived at the hospital with “severe blistering of her mouth and throat and esophagus.” The medical team told the family that there was nothing they could do to treat the blistering, she said.
When Cutchin was first informed about the incident, Atria told her that the substance was an “alkaline cleaning solution that eats protein” and that her mother had ingested it. But Cutchin told KRON4 that her mother can’t feed herself, and she doubted whether other dementia patients could either.
“Many people like my mother, you have to hold a cup to her mouth and tip it into her mouth,” Cutchin told KRON4.
In addition to police, the California Department of Social Services Ombudsman is investigating.