Woman, 98, left outside overnight remembered
Although her memory was ravaged by Alzheimer's disease, Mildred Taylor talked for two days about being left outside a nursing home all night in her wheelchair, her daughter testified Tuesday.
Taylor, 98, died about a month after the June 2004 incident at Prestige Assisted Living in Marysville. A former Prestige worker, Debbie Montes, is charged with elder endangerment in Yuba County Superior Court.
"I called for help, but nobody came," Taylor said, according to her daughter, Elma Shepherd.
Because of her disease, Taylor usually could not remember what happened 10 minutes before, said Shepherd.
"This she remembered," her daughter said.
Prosecutor Jennifer R. Dupré said it may never be known who pushed Taylor outside in her wheelchair the night of June 26 last year. But Montes was responsible for patients on Taylor's wing and failed to check on her whereabouts, said Dupre.
Another worker, who began work at 11 p.m., assumed that Taylor's family had taken her home for the weekend. Taylor was found shivering in her wheelchair at about 6 a.m. the next morning, said Dupré.
Earlier in the day on June 26, Shepherd testified, she saw Montes having trouble getting Taylor into her wheelchair. Taylor was feebly slapping at Montes, she said.
"She was just a frail little person" and weighed only 80 or 85 pounds, she said.
Later, in the lunchroom, Montes demanded an apology, even though Taylor could not understand what was being said to her, said Shepherd.
Dupré told the 11-woman, one-man jury that Montes claimed she had never been trained to do bed checks on patients but had been doing them before the Taylor incident.
"Debbie Montes knew what she was supposed to do. She just didn't do it that night," said Dupré.
In a brief opening argument, defense attorney Roberto Marquez did not outline his strategy but said "there are a lot of unknowns for which the district attorney doesn't have answers. When this case is done, you'll absolutely acquit my client."
Taylor could push her own wheelchair with her feet when she entered Prestige in December 2001 but could no longer do so last year, said Shepherd.
The criminal trial is expected to last through Thursday. If convicted, Montes could be sentenced to six months in jail and fined $1,000.
Taylor's family also has filed a wrongful death civil suit against Oregon-based Prestige in San Francisco Superior Court.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Rob Young can be reached at 749-4710. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.