Family of man killed in nursing home plans to sue

February 20, 2012 8:30:53 PM PST
The family of a man who was the victim of a homicide at an Oak Park nursing home is planning to file a lawsuit.

Anibal Calderon's family say they have many questions but few answers from the Oak Park nursing home where last week the 80-year-old died of his injuries after getting into an altercation with a fellow resident.

"He was always smiling, he loved people," said Robert Calderon, son.

Anibal Calderon - "Al" to those who knew him - was a veteran of the Korean War, but in recent years he suffered from dementia. Three years ago he moved in to the Oak Park Healthcare Center nursing home.

"The call I got Sunday night was shocking, and I got it all night long from the hospital and that's how I found out," said Robert Calderon.

Police say a 66-year-old patient in the same ward was involved in the altercation that ended with the 80-year-old unconscious and on the floor with a head injury.

The attorney now representing Mr. Calderon's widow and son says he has information that the other patient has felony in his background.

"The Calderon family had no idea that their loved one was living amongst potential multiple other residents with felony background," said Mike Bonamarte, the Calderon family's attorney.

The law requires nursing homes to conduct background checks on their patients within 72 hours of admission.

Last November, though, the state cited Oak Park Healthcare Center for non-compliance in identifying offenders. But regulators say the nursing home immediately fixed the problem: conducting background checks, risk assessments and care plans.

The Calderons say they never knew Al may have been living with criminals.

"You're putting your father, your mother, your loved one into a facility that has convicted criminals or anybody like that, that should be the first thing that comes out of their mouth. It wasn't," said Robert Calderon.

Staff at the Oak Park Healthcare Center declined ABC7's request for comment on Mr. Calderon's death.

A spokesperson for the state department of public health says nursing homes need to make available information about a residents' criminal history to anyone who requests it. But the spokesperson couldn't say whether nursing home managers need to pro-actively tell people the facility is used by those with criminal histories.