Woman says her elderly mother with Alzheimer's was left outside a care facility at 2 a.m.

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Costanza Genoese Zerbi said her 84-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, was left alone outside a locked assisted living facility in the middle of the night.

Posted: Jan 31, 2019 3:30 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2019 3:30 PM

A California woman is outraged after a video showed her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, left alone outside a locked assisted living facility in the middle of the night.

Long Beach resident Costanza Genoese Zerbi said her mother, Savina Genoese Zerbi, 84, was taken from the Regency Palms assisted living facility to the emergency room at the College Medical Center on January 12 after she made suicidal comments.

Hours after Zerbi arrived at the ER, her daughter said, the hospital put her in a cab back to the Regency Palms, where she arrived about 2:15 a.m. on January 13.

"I was horrified by this," said Constanza Zerbi. "Putting my mother in a cab is no different from a hospital putting a minor child in a cab."

"She is delusional, has hallucinations (and) is confused about facts. She has the mental capacity of a toddler," Zerbi said of her mother's mental state.

Security video shows the elderly woman wearing a bathrobe and sandals and carrying a large envelope. She tries to open the front door, then pounds on it several times before she walks away.

Another security video shows her pacing up and down a dark alley before returning to the door. Her daughter said she was eventually let into the assisted care facility around 3 a.m. It's unclear who let her in.

Daughter will meet hospital officials

Costanza Zerbi said she has filed a complaint with the California Department of Public Health against College Medical Center for sending her mother back to the care facility in a cab.

"My mom has the cognitive abilities of a toddler," she told CNN affiliate KCAL. "It's like taking a child and dumping him on the street in the middle of the night -- it's insane. It's criminal."

Savina Zerbi turned down an offer to assist with transportation and asked to be taken home, the hospital said, according to the affiliate. It added that a relative and the care facility were told she was being discharged.

Costanza Zerbi said her mother was especially vulnerable because she'd just started living at the assisted care facility and was having a hard time adjusting to her new life.

The reason for the complaint against the hospital is not to sue but to create awareness and ensure the hospital improves how it handles patients like her mother, she said.

"I would just like to see the hospital operate in a more responsible way," she said.

CNN has called Regency Palms, College Medical Center, and the California Department of Public Health, but has not heard back.

The California Department of Public Health told the Long Beach Press-Telegram that details on ongoing investigations are kept private until the investigation is complete.

The College Medical Center defended its actions, saying it complies with regulations on patient discharge, but will discuss the concerns with Zerbi's family, KCAL reported.

The daughter had planned to meet hospital officials on February 11 but she has decided against it. It doesn't appear the hospital wants to discuss the incident in a way that will improve its practices, she said.

Zerbi said her mother remains at Regency Palms.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of memory and intellectual abilities. It is a slow-moving disease that starts with memory loss and ends with severe brain damage.

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