Morley Sprague was 57  and suffering from end-stage multiple sclerosis and had a history of urinary tract infections (UTI) and degenerative joint disease.  After being hospitalized for treatment for sepsis and UTI, he was admitted to the North Canyon Care Center, a nursing home that offered wound care services.

Unfortunately, within a week, Sprague’s two existing pressure ulcers worsened from Stage I and II to Stage IV. In addition, he developed a Stage IV pressure sore on his right buttock.

After he left the nursing home, he required antibiotics and other continued medical care for his wounds, which failed to heal. Two years after his discharge, Sprague died of sepsis that resulted from an infected pressure ulcer. He was survived by his wife and three adult children.

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Audrey Smith, 92, lived at Anna Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and suffered from dementia, hypertension and depression. Almost ten years after her admission, she was found in a pool of blood on the floor of her room. She had fallen and suffered a subdural hematoma with midline shift, a C6 fracture, and an orbital fracture.

After being treated at a nearby hospital, Smith was transferred to a different hospital where she died seven days later. She was survived by her five adult children.

The Smith family and Smith’s estate sued the nursing home and its management company claiming it chose not to provide trained health care staff, provided inadequate staffing and supervision and failed to adhere to professional standards and inadequate care plan.

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June Newbauer, 70, lived at the Grace Living Center. She was dropped to the floor as she was being transferred into a shower chair. An x-ray showed no fracture, according to radiologist and defendant, Dr. James Zimmerman.

Another internist reviewed the same x-ray and also concluded there was no fracture.

The following month, Newbauer fell out of bed. Another internist who was called in to examine here did not order any imaging studies despite her leg pain. Four days later, she was correctly diagnosed as having a fractured left femur and knee.

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Harry Cohoon was diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer and was recovering at Victoria Healthcare Center while he underwent treatment from various injuries he had suffered.

For 19 days, he did well at the healthcare center. On the 20th day of his residency there, he was observed having difficulty swallowing thin liquids. After evaluation, his diet was changed.

His niece, Donna Cochrum sued the healthcare center contending that the change was not properly communicated to the residency kitchen staff. Consequently, that night he was served a dinner that did not conform to his new diet.

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In this case, the plaintiff, Merton Messmore, brought a wrongful-death claim against the nursing home in Silvis, Ill., which is about 161 miles west of Chicago. Messmore’s wife, Mary, died after she allegedly fell.

The Illinois Appellate Court called this case “a unique situation” about a stay under Section 2(d) of the Uniform Arbitration Act because the survival claims Messmore filed on behalf of Mary’s estate “are subject to arbitration, his wrongful-death claim is not, and he bases all three claims on the same factual allegations.”

Messmore wanted to proceed in the circuit court but discovery on the wrongful-death claim included taking his evidence deposition (Messmore is at least 90.) without having to wait for arbitration of the survival claims. The defendants, Silvis Operations d/b/a Lighthouse of Silvis and one of its nurses, argued that Section 2(d) required the trial judge to stay all three claims.

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Ms. Doe was in her 60s when she was admitted to the Roe Skilled Nursing Facility after undergoing hip replacement surgery.

She asked for assistance with transferring herself from her bed or chair to the bathroom. A certified nursing assistant who had never worked with her before answered her call. Before Ms. Doe moved to a seated position, the nursing assistant dropped her legs over the bed. This caused her to suffer a broken right femur.

The nursing home’s staff chose not to evaluate Ms. Doe despite her pain after her fall. Ms. Doe was transferred to a nearby hospital that evening where she received the diagnosis of a fractured right femur.

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Edward Arnold was 70 when he was admitted to Whitestone Care Center for rehabilitation after a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg. After he went through dialysis, he was placed in a chair and left alone.

Arnold later fell, fracturing his right hip. The rehabilitation center’s staff then placed him back in his bed. Several days later, he was admitted to a hospital where he underwent hip surgery. Because of the hip fracture, he received additional rehabilitation, but he died months later of unrelated causes.

Arnold’s estate sued the nursing home, its corporate owners and managers, and other related corporate entities, alleging failure to adequately staff the nursing home, corporate negligence and joint venture liability. Continue reading

Barbara Carroll, 75, was admitted to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation after a surgery.  Within a week, she developed a significant pressure sore on her coccyx, which progressed to Stage IV despite her use of an air mattress. She died of sepsis a month after her admission to the skilled nursing facility and was survived by her three adult children.

One of her daughters filed a claim against Oak Rehabilitation Centers claiming that the owner was liable for choosing not to provide Carroll with a functioning air mattress. Without that air mattress, it was alleged that her pressure ulcer worsened.

Before a lawsuit was filed, the parties settled for $340,000. Continue reading

Morley Sprague suffered from end-stage multiple sclerosis and had a history of urinary tract infection (UTI) and degenerative joint disease.

After a hospitalization for treatment of sepsis and a UTI, he was admitted to the North Canyon Care Center, a nursing home that offered wound care services. Within a week, his two existing pressure ulcers worsened from Stage I and II to Stage IV. Additionally, he developed a Stage IV pressure sore on his right buttock.

After he left the nursing home, he required antibiotic treatment and continued medical care for his open wounds, which did not heal. Two years after his discharge, Sprague died of sepsis resulting from an infected pressure ulcer.

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The Supreme Court of Rhode Island has held that the release of a master or principal or employer from liability also releases a servant or employee from potential legal liability.

In this case, Michelle Hall sued Tavares Pediatric Center Inc., an assisted living facility, alleging liability for injuries her daughter suffered while being care for there. Before trial, the parties settled. The plaintiff signed a joint tortfeasor release that exempted Tavares agents and employees. The court then dismissed the case.

Later, Hall sued two nurses who provided care to her daughter at the same Tavares Pediatric Center. The nurses moved for summary judgment on the basis that under state law, they and Tavares were a single tortfeasor and, therefore, Tavares released the nurses. The trial court agreed and an appeal was taken.

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