The former South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital is in the news again weeks after the Sacramento Bee reported that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had decertified the facility and the Department of Public Health had issued dozens of citations to it due to severe abuse and neglect of residents. On August 19, 2015, Arthur Miller, the South Pasadena Chief of Police held a widely attended press conference to discuss a criminal investigation at the facility, to condemn troubling conditions that his force had encountered and to announce a new operator had taken over management of the facility.
The criminal investigation involved the horrific death of Courtney Cargill, a resident of the facility who died in November 2014 of tragic circumstances. Ms. Cargill, who suffered from a serious mental illness, bought a gallon of gasoline, lit herself on fire and died after the facility allowed her to leave unsupervised on a pass. In urging the Attorney General’s Office to bring negligent homicide or related charges, Chief Miller stated: “That should have never happened. She died the next day and what’s sad is this was completely preventable at every level.”
The press conference also addressed other shocking conditions, including the rerouting of emergency 9-1-1 calls to the nursing stations. Miller said: “We never heard about those calls until we started having to do foot beats through the hospital. That’s crazy. That’s insane that the people that were asking for help got rerouted to their captors. It’s just unheard of.”
Chief Miller also urged the Attorney General’s Office to bring charges for “loading this hospital up with people that should not have been there and then getting state and federal funding.”
South Pasadena Convalescent Hospital is owned by Shlomo Rechnitz, who is seeking approval from the Department of Public Health to sell it to new owners.