• The caustic liquid was served at the facility instead of grape juice
  • One resident died and two were hospitalized following the incident
  • Employees involved were suspended as the investigation continues

An elderly woman lost her life after mistakenly being served dishwashing liquid instead of juice at an elderly care facility in San Mateo, California.

Two other residents at the facility also had to be rushed to the hospital after drinking the caustic liquid.

The incident took place at the Atria Park Senior Living facility Saturday morning at around 8:30 a.m., the New York Post reported. The three residents were reportedly served dishwashing liquid instead of grape juice.

Gertrude Elizabeth Murison Maxwell, 93, died following the incident, leaving behind eight children and 20 grandchildren.

"We can confirm three of our residents were recently transported to the hospital after mistakenly being served dishwashing liquid as drinking juice," the facility said in a statement, KRON4 reported. "We have been working with local authorities, who have informed us that one resident passed away. Our sincerest condolences are with the family."

Maxwell's daughter, Marcia Cutchin, told KRON4 her mother was found having "severe blistering of her mouth and throat and esophagus" when she arrived at the hospital.

The facility told her Maxwell had consumed an "alkaline cleaning solution that eats protein," Cutchin told the outlet.

The daughter also believes there was no possible way her mother, a dementia-patient, could have consumed the solution herself.

"Many people like my mother, you have to hold a cup to her mouth and tip it into her mouth," Cutchin told the outlet.

Elder abuse attorney Kathryn Stebner had previously filed four different lawsuits against Atria's facilities, which were located throughout California. Atria Park of San Mateo was at the center of two of those lawsuits.

Stebner said at least one resident in those cases died of negligence at the facility.

"They've been from falls, wounds and things like that all of them on the basis of not having enough staff and not enough training at the facilities," Stebner told NBC Bay Area.

Stebner said a systematic error must have caused Maxwell's death, and the hospitalization of the two other residents.

"It didn't come in a juice container if it's poison, so I actually have a hard time believing that," said Stebner.

Atria Park said they have suspended the employees amidst the ongoing investigation.

"We are conducting our own internal investigation, and the employees involved have been suspended until this investigation concludes," the statement said. "We will continue working with the police and Department of Social Services to fully review and assess the incident, after which we will take additional actions as needed. The safety and well-being of our residents remain our top priorities at all times. Out of respect for the people involved, we cannot comment further."

Representational image (elderly woman)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / sabinevanerp)