Doctors and nurses have a responsibility to advocate for their patients and to exercise due diligence in making sure their patients’ needs are being met. That responsibility increases when the patients cannot speak on their own behalf, e.g. when the patient is a child, in a coma, or perhaps a stroke victim. This issue of nurse and doctor responsibility was at the center of a recent Kentucky nursing home abuse lawsuit involving an elderly resident’s injury at a Louisville nursing home.
The patient was an elderly resident who was in the Kentucky nursing home after a stroke left him with decreased mobility. As part of his care and treatment, doctors had instituted a policy that required the Treyton Oak Towers nursing staff to use a lift and two staff members to transfer the resident in and out of his wheelchair. Typically, care plans like this are put into place to help reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
However, in this nursing home abuse case the nursing staff chose not to follow the transferring plan. Instead, just one staff member attempted to move the resident from his wheelchair to his bed. The staff member of course dropped the resident, fracturing both of his legs. Yet rather than telling someone, the staff member simply put the resident back into his bed as if the fall had never happened. And since the resident’s stroke left him unable to tell anyone else about the fall, his fractures also went undiagnosed. It was not until the resident was transferred to a hospital that his fractures were diagnosed and treated. The resident died just two months after the fall.
The resident’s family filed a nursing home malpractice lawsuit against the Kentucky nursing home for its negligence in caring for their father. However, the nursing home denied that its staff had done anything wrong and denied any responsibility for the resident’s injury. In addition, the nursing home was critical of the resident’s doctors for allegedly failing to inform them that the resident had severe osteoporosis, making him extremely susceptible to fractures. However, the plaintiff’s main problem was attempting to prove that the fall and injury did in fact happen.
Just as the nursing home staff member had failed to notify any other staff member of the resident’s fall, so had she failed to note it in his medical chart. So despite the fact that the nursing home staff’s actions were in clear violation of the care plan and Kentucky’s nursing home statute, there was not necessarily a clear documentation of the fall. So while the plaintiffs claimed that that the nursing home were negligent in choosing not to use a lift and two staff members when transferring the resident from his wheelchair to his bed, the nursing home continued to deny that it had done anything wrong.
Yet this is one case where the medical negligence is so blatant and obvious that it cannot be covered up. Even though the nursing home malpractice trial lasted two weeks, it only took the jury two hours to come to the conclusion that the nursing home was negligent. It returned a $8 million verdict in favor of the resident’s surviving family members, which included the following damages:
$2 million for pain and suffering; $1 million for violation of the state nursing home statute; and $5 million for punitive damages.
The plaintiff was represented by attorneys William Garner and Matt Minner; David Griffin, M.D. v. Treyton Oak Towers.
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois nursing home abuse cases and medical malpractice matters for individuals and families for more than 36 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Wheaton, Waukegan, Arlington Heights, Niles, Tinley Park, and Chicago’s South Shore.
Similar blog posts:
Nursing Home Settles Lawsuit by Resident’s Family for Pressure Sores, Sepsis and Death – $500,000
Jury Holds For Nursing Home After Head Trauma Causes Fatal Injury – Donegan v. Embassy Care Center
Surviving Family Receives $850,000 Wrongful Death Settlement After Rehab Center Fails to Prevent Elderly Resident’s Fall – Sorce v. Shorehaven Health and Rehab. Ctr.