The family of Annie Lois Hanna is suing Pacifica Senior Living Woodmont for wrongful death.
Last Christmas morning, Annie Lois Hanna, 100, died alone and cold in her room at Pacifica Senior Living Woodmont. Now, her family is suing the assisted living facility for wrongful death. According to the suit, which was filed earlier this week in Leon Circuit Civil Court, the facility “failed to monitor or protect Hanna, who was found dead of hypothermia outside the facility.” As a result, the family is seeking unspecified damages against the facility and its parent company.
What happened, though? For starters, it’s important to note that Hanna had dementia and was on oxygen. According to the complaint, she was “last seen by her family at Woodmont on Christmas Eve.” Her sister was the one who first noticed Hanna missing. She shared a suite with her and when she noticed Hanna’s absence, she “used a call bell to summon staff, but no one ever responded.”
At about 7:45 a.m. on Christmas, Tallahassee firefighters were called to Woodmont “for a 911 call to tend to another resident.” When they arrived, “they noticed a person on the grass at the bottom of a hill about 100 yards from Woodmont’s front door.” It was Hanna. She was “lying next to a pillow and a walker.” The complaint further states:
“There was still frost on the ground, as the temperature that night had been in the mid-20s, but she was barefoot…Staff were notified, and a facility manager came outside and identified Annie Hanna as a resident who was in the care of Woodmont; they did not even know she was missing.”
However, Hanna’s family was not immediately notified. In fact, one of her sons didn’t hear about his mother’s passing until he arrived later that morning to visit her. When he asked for his mother, first responders told him she had died. According to the autopsy report, the cause of death was hypothermia, “which can be caused by prolonged exposure to cold weather.” In addition to the hypothermia, the suit notes Hanna “also had multiple cuts and bruises and injuries including a broken thigh bone.”
Hanna moved to Woodmont in 2019 and “was not supposed to leave the facility unassisted or alone.” When she first arrived at Woodmont, her family “reached an agreement with staff that they would check on her every few hours throughout the night to make sure she hadn’t removed and forgotten to replace her oxygen tube.”
However, the complaint states that the facility only had “two employees available to oversee and care for the residents on Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning.”
When commenting on the tragic incident and Woodmont, Scott Gwartney, the attorney representing Hanna’s family, said:
“Their negligence robbed the Hanna family of their mother’s life and…the joy that is associated with Christmas morning…Christmas morning is forever tainted for the Hanna family as the day their mother and grandmother was found cold, dead, and alone in front of the place they hired (at no small cost) to watch over her and keep her safe.”