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'It's Criminal': Complaint Alleges Mom With Dementia Dumped Outside Long Beach Healthcare Facility

LONG BEACH (CBSLA/AP) — A Long Beach medical center says it will meet with relatives of a dementia patient, who claim the woman was placed in a taxi and dumped outside her home in the middle of the night.

College Medical Center of Long Beach says Wednesday that it complies with all regulations concerning patient discharge but plans to discuss the matter with the family of 84-year-old Savina Zerbi.

Security video shows Zerbi attempting to open the front door to the Regency Palms memory-care home at 2:17 a.m. on Jan. 13, then pacing an alley and repeatedly returning to the door before somehow gaining entry.

The hospital says Zerbi denied its offer to assist with transportation and insisted on being taken home. It also says a relative and the care facility were notified that she was being discharged.

(credit: CBS)

"My mom has the cognitive abilities of a toddler," Costanza Zerbi said. "It's like taking a child and dumping him on the street in the middle of the night – it's insane. It's criminal."

Zerbi says her mother, who was especially vulnerable because she just moved into the assisted care facility and was depressed, was hospitalized at College Medical Center after threatening to harm her self. She says she waited for hours to see her, but was told her mother was too agitated and needed to be put on hold for evaluation.

Savina Zerbi was released just after midnight, right around the time Costanza Zerbi got a confused phone call from a worker, who was supposed to make arrangements with the facility. Instead, Savina Zerbi was put in a taxi and sent back to Regency Palms Long Beach.

Video shows the elderly woman banging on a door and windows outside of Regency Palms, and later walking through a dark alley in bathrobe and sandals. She was finally let in by a security guard about 25 minutes later.

long beach patient dumped
(credit: CBS)

Costanza Zerbi says she has filed a complaint with the state, but does not plan to sue, although she says she has found other allegations online of patient dumping involving College Medical Center.

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

The California Department of Public Health and the hospital say they cannot comment on the allegations.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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