Gertrude Elizabeth Murison Maxwell
An elderly woman suffering from dementia has lost her life after the California senior citizens’ home she lived in mistakenly served her dishwashing liquid instead of juice.
Gertrude Elizabeth Murison Maxwell was one of three residents at Atria Park Senior Living Facility in San Mateo rushed to the hospital after they drank the caustic liquid.
The employees involved have been suspended as the home investigates internally and cooperates with local authorities, the facility said.
Atria said in a statement to KRON-TV: “We have been working with local authorities, who have informed us that one resident passed away. Our sincerest condolences are with the family.”
One source told NBC Bay Area the dishwashing liquid might have been confused with grape juice.
“There may have been a mistake,’” the source involved in the investigation told the local NBC affiliate. “A jug of grape juice is what somebody thought they had picked up and poured into glasses, but it was some sort of cleaning fluid.”
The victim’s daughter, Marcia Cutchin, told the local television station that the senior home told her family the substance given to her mother was an “alkaline cleaning solution that eats protein.”
Maxwell suffers from dementia and was not able to feed herself, Cutchin said.
She added that when her mother arrived at the hospital, she had “severe blistering of her mouth and throat and esophagus”.
“Many people, like my mother, you have to hold a cup to her mouth and tip it into her mouth,” Cutchin told KRON-TV.
The television station reported San Mateo Police were investigating and had no additional information.
Maxwell is survived by eight children and 20 grandchildren.