Family claims San Mateo Atria Park staff served 93-year-old mother with ‘commercial-grade cleaner’, leading to her death


SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) — An investigation is underway at a San Mateo seniors’ residence where a person died after drinking a toxic chemical.

Three patients ingested what officials said was “dish soap” instead of drinking juice at the Atria Park Senior Living Center.

PREVIOUS STORY: 93-year-old woman died after seniors served dish soap at San Mateo seniors’ residence

The deceased 93-year-old has been identified by her family as Trudy Maxwell. She was the mother of nine children, had 20 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Maxwell’s family believe she was given ‘Ultra Klene’ which is described as a ‘highly alkaline formula designed to remove stubborn fat, starch and protein food soils’.

“We would like to clarify that it was not a regular dishwasher detergent that was given, but a highly concentrated commercial grade cleaner,” Maxwell’s daughter, Melanie, said.

People familiar with the matter believe the chemical was mistaken for cranberry juice.

In a statement, Atria Senior Living said: “We can confirm that three of our residents were recently taken to hospital after they were mistakenly given washing up liquid as their drinking juice.”

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Kathryn Stebner and her law firm Stebner Gertler Guadagni and Kawamoto have filed a dozen lawsuits against Atria Senior Living. Two of them were for elder abuse at the San Mateo facility where Maxwell received a toxic chemical.

“We’ve had cases of injuries. A severe bed goes up against them. We’ve had cases where people have fallen into their rooms multiple times due to understaffing,” Stebner said.

Stebner does not represent the Maxwell family but believes this case has similarities to some of his past cases.

“Either understaffed or poorly trained. Because if there’s only one person and they’re too busy running around too much, they do things like that,” Stebner said. “That person obviously hasn’t been trained because it’s such an obvious thing.”

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San Mateo police confirmed that TMaxwell and two other elderly residents received the toxic chemical on Sunday evening, but did not confirm whether it took place during dinner.

“After receiving this phone call, we opened an investigation into the death after being able to see what was happening and learning that two other people had also been hospitalized,” said Alison Gilmore, police public information officer. of San Mateo. “More than three people were questioned.”

The Maxwell family confirmed that their mother has dementia and has been living at Atria Park Senior Living Facility in San Mateo since October 2020.

ABC7 News has contacted Atria to inquire about the toxic liquid and the condition of the other two residents.

Here is their response:

“Thank you for contacting us. At this time, we have no further comments to share. And out of respect for the privacy of our residents, we cannot provide further details.”

The property has not confirmed if the detergent in our story was the one given to these residents.

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