Sarah Fortner suffered from dementia, osteoporosis, and had other health problems. She lived at the Carolina Gardens at Lexington Assisted Living Facilities. Over a 5-year period, she fell several times. She suffered various injuries including a fractured arm, a skin tear, a forehead hematoma and a fractured femur. After her last fall, she passed away.

The family and the estate of Fortner sued the facility’s licensees, owners, managers and operators, alleging negligence; negligence per se; negligent hiring, training and supervision; and breach of fiduciary duty.

The Fortner estate claimed that the defendants had chosen not to prevent Fortner’s falls or determine the root cause of these falls. In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the defendant nursing home owners, operators, managers had failed to provide supervised care and properly train its staff.

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Cecil Smith Sr. was admitted to the Sandpiper Rehab & Nursing facility. Shortly after his admission, he developed a deep sacral pressure ulcer or bed sore that became infected. The opening in the skin caused by the pressure ulcer led to complications that caused Smith’s death less than a year after his admission to the nursing home. He was survived by his wife.

The Smith estate filed a lawsuit against the nursing home facility and other corporate entities, alleging claims under the state’s survival and wrongful death statute. The Smith family claimed that the defendants, the nursing home and its owners, chose not to prevent and treat the pressure ulcer by implementing pressure-relieving measures, providing adequate staff, properly training staff and properly communicating Smith’s needs to the treating nursing home personnel.

The defendants moved to compel arbitration, but the trial court denied the motion.

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Matthew Farrell suffered traumatic brain injury after being injured in a motor vehicle crash. He was admitted to Solterra at Castle Rock, a skilled nursing facility.

At the time of the admission, he could not move his legs. He was completely dependent on the facility for his hygiene, medical treatment and activities of daily living. The nursing facility allegedly did not reposition him regularly or keep his skin clean and dry, which left him with pressure sores on his buttocks, heels and lower back. He also became malnourished, which caused his wounds to worsen.

Within two months of admission, he was transferred to a hospital, suffering from a high fever, nausea and vomiting. At the hospital, he was diagnosed as having severe sepsis, necessitating surgical debridement, placement of a wound vac, removal of portions of his coccyx bone and surgery of a muscle flap repair.

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Ms. Doe, 87, lived in the dementia unit of the nursing home. Roe, a person with no ties to the nursing home, frequently visited the facility and socialized with its residents.

One day, a nursing assistant came to Ms. Doe’s room and found Roe in bed with her. Ms. Doe was disrobed at the time.  Ms. Doe was taken to a local hospital where an examination revealed she had been sexually assaulted. Ms. Doe now suffers from PTSD, fear of men, sexualized behavior and hallucinations.

Ms. Doe sued the nursing home, its corporate owner, the facility’s administrator, and others, alleging negligence. Continue reading

Dethel Bell, 84, was a resident at Palm Garden of West Palm Beach Nursing Home.  While a nursing aide was performing a transfer, she was dropped to the floor suffering a broken hip that required surgery to repair it. Her injuries led to “pain and suffering and inability to trust her caregivers.”

Through her attorney-in-fact, Bell sued the nursing home, alleging negligent failure to provide appropriate services, negligent hiring, retention, and supervision. It also alleged that the nursing aide’s acts led to the liability of the nursing home by way of vicarious liability.

At arbitration, an award of $197,100 was entered, including $130,000 for Bell’s mental anguish.

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After being hospitalized for a stroke, Calvin Thigpen, 68, was admitted to Waters Edge Rehabilitation & Care Center in a vegetative state. During approximately the next six months, he developed pressure sores on his sacrum, his heel and the back of his head. In addition, he suffered infections and a tear to his penis.

After his death, Thigpen’s estate sued the nursing home, its owner, and its operating company, alleging negligent care and inadequate staffing.

The nursing home and its owner defaulted. The court entered a judgment in the amount of $1.4 million in favor of the Thigpen estate. It was not reported as to whether the sum was recovered.

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Jennie Serfass was admitted to the dementia unit at Arden Courts of Yardley. At the time, in addition to dementia, she also suffered from chronic urinary tract infections, hypertension and glaucoma. She used a cane to help her move and walk.

Several months after Serfass’s admission, she suffered two unwitnessed falls. She was hospitalized and transferred back to the nursing home where she suffered an additional fall that resulted in a femur fracture.

Serfass’s mental status declined on her readmission to the nursing home. She then developed numerous pressure sores, which caused her condition to deteriorate. She subsequently passed away.

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Fannie Dillard lived at Springfield Residences, an assisted living facility.  After she fell, she developed sepsis and a Stage IV decubitus ulcer on her sacrum, which led to her unfortunate death more than a year later.

She was survived by her daughter.  Dillard’s daughter sued the facility, alleging claims of wrongful death and a survival claim.

Before trial, the Dillard family and assisted living facility reached a confidential settlement for an undisclosed amount.

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Thelma Brown, 90, was suffering from dementia and required the use of a wheelchair. While a resident at Brookdale Charlestown Nursing Home, she suffered multiple falls and developed a urinary tract infection that led to sepsis and ultimately caused her death. She was survived by her adult daughter.

Brown’s daughter, on her behalf, sued the nursing home’s owner alleging that it chose not to properly monitor her mother’s well-being, provide sufficient staff in training, and modify her care plan when her health deteriorated.

The defendant denied the allegations and maintained that Brown’s injuries came from her poor medical condition and that her injuries were not a cause of her death.

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A nursing home resident, Concetta DeMarco, was seated in a wheelchair in a transport vehicle driven by an agent of Lifeline Medical Services Inc.

During the trip, the van suddenly stopped, causing the wheelchair to flip over backward. DeMarco, 68, hit her head and suffered bilateral subdural hematomas, which required surgery.

DeMarco subsequently developed a seizure disorder, which complicated her recovery. Unfortunately, she died approximately one year after this incident. She was survived by her two children.

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