Daphne Mosley was unconscious, and no one would help.
According to a lawsuit filed earlier this month, the 53-year-old HIV-positive woman was on the floor of a Portland residential care facility for hours before anyone tried to offer assistance. She died that day, in May 2014, of congestive heart failure, per the coroner.
Now, family members are alleging a screw-up on all levels, from state government officials down to the facility's owner and operator.
The day she died, Mosley had been staying at the ZR Pacific Care Home—a nondescript dark green house off a hilly, bumpy dirt road in semirural Southwest Portland—because the state placed her there, the suit says. She was deemed a "vulnerable person" under Oregon law, attorney Bartley Herron wrote. That label can mean a variety of things, and Herron didn't respond to calls for details.
But ZR Pacific Care wasn't staffed properly, or equipped to care for an HIV-positive person with heart problems, he alleged.
First, the suit says, it "did not have any special equipment to provide Daphne Mosley with emergency resuscitation for her heart." And the facility couldn't even protect staffers who might have attempted to assist Mosley, the suit says, noting it lacked "any special equipment to protect a person from being exposed to HIV, if the person wanted to provide CPR to Daphne Mosley while she was laying unconscious and dying."
If true, the allegations suggest officials might be failing yet another segment of the population. The Oregon Department of Human Services was recently rocked by scandal in its child foster care system. Mosley's family members raise concerns about where the state is placing vulnerable adults.
It was a fellow resident, not staff, who eventually called 911 to report Mosley's condition—and may have provided bad information to the dispatcher about whether she was still alive and able to be saved. (The suit says ZR Pacific Care had a policy requiring staff and residents to get permission from owner and operator Zahra Rahmani before calling 911.)
The 911 operator sent a police officer to the home "instead of dispatching medical personnel."
"Daphne Mosley died over the course of numerous hours and may still have been alive when the 911 emergency operator sent the police rather than an ambulance to save Daphne Mosley's life," the suit says.
Jewel Mosley, Daphne's daughter, is suing ZR Pacific Care Home, Rahmani, the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the state for wrongful death, negligence, abuse of a vulnerable person, and breach of contract. The suit is seeking $750,000 in damages.
The city's named in the suit because the 911 dispatcher allegedly sent a cop instead of medical personnel who may have been able to save her. The county's named because it's responsible for licensing and overseeing residential care facilities like this. The state placed Mosley there. ZR Pacific Care Home and its owner Rahmani are accused of not having adequate staff or equipment.
Rahmani was less than thrilled when the Mercury tried to get her side of the story.
Four unreturned phone calls and two voice messages were left with Rahmani over the span of four days. We stopped by last Friday afternoon and left a note with contact information. On Monday, after receiving no indication Rahmani knew the Mercury was trying to contact her, we visited again.
She was there this time, and was upset a reporter was at her doorstep. She did not want to talk.
"You know what? I have referred you to my lawyer because of harassing," she said, angrily. "You are harassing me."
Rahmani slammed the door shut when she was asked for the lawyer's name or phone number to see if they, at least, wanted to comment for this story.
She opened the door a crack a few seconds later: "And I already reported you as harassment."