After a hospital stay in 2016 for a brain tumor, Regina Romero was transferred to a nursing home in New Mexico. Her “medications were withheld” and she was neglected and “subjected to an assault,” her family alleges in a wrongful death lawsuit filed in 2017 against the facility, Paloma Blanca Health and Rehabilitation.
Romero died less than four months after arriving at the home; she was only 59 years old, states the complaint, which doesn’t detail the allegations.
In March 2021, the case was nearing a settlement when negotiations suddenly halted.
That month, a unit of Consulate Health Care — which owned 140 nursing homes, including Paloma Blanca — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections. Romero’s stepdaughter said Consulate attorneys leveraged the pending bankruptcy as a bludgeon: either accept a significantly reduced settlement, or risk getting little or nothing from a bankrupt entity. The family begrudgingly took the much smaller offer, an amount that cannot be disclosed under the settlement terms.
“It’s horrible because I think they got away with what they did,” said the stepdaughter, Lisa Robichaud, who had moved near Romero when she entered Paloma Blanca. The two women had bonded over cooking together and grown