Articles Posted in Caregivers

Ms. Doe, receiving home health care, was an amputee who experienced constant pain at her stump site. To care for her condition, she was given pain medication. She had an epidural Port-A-Cath implanted under the skin of her chest. Ms. Doe was discharged from a hospital and planned to receive several weeks of home care from visiting nurses who would be assigned to clean the new port site, change her dressing and check for signs of infection.

Four days after Ms. Doe’s port was inserted, a visiting nurse, Roe, allegedly noted that the port site looked tender and had drainage. Roe allegedly changed Ms. Doe’s dressing. She did not contact Ms. Doe’s doctor about these findings.

During a later visit, Ms. Doe allegedly told Roe that she had decreased sensation to her bladder. Roe allegedly changed Ms. Doe’s dressing but did not return to see her for about five days. During this time, Ms. Doe’s port site was red and swollen. She complained of decreased sensation to the lower part of her body.

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Olive Mary Davis lived at the Silver Lake Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. As a known fall risk, she required a high level of care, including a bed alarm, verbal cues and raised bed rails.

On the day of this incident, she was found on the floor covered in blood. She suffered a fractured right hip. The fracture required open reduction and internal fixation surgery as well as treatment for her fractured forearm.

Davis died of her injuries within two months and was survived by her daughter.

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Viola Sickel had a history of falls. She was admitted to The Bridges at Warwick, a skilled nursing facility.  She was then transferred to its secure memory unit. While she was standing at the sink in her bathroom, the aide who had been spotting her left her room suddenly.

Sickel then fell and struck her head, suffering severe injuries that led to her untimely death.

Sickel’s estate sued The Bridges of Warwick nursing home, alleging that it chose not to implement an effective fall prevention strategy. It also was alleged that the nursing home failed to properly supervise Sickel while she was standing at the sink in the bathroom, failed to tell Sickel that the aide was leaving and that she was being left alone.

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A state court has found that the plaintiff’s claim that a home health caregiver and agency may be liable for the caregiver’s negligence in supervising a patient but it did not amount to a medical negligence case.

Tammy Upchurch was an employee of Right at Home; she was assigned to provide at-home caregiving services to Ida Stratz. During Upchurch’s shift, she fell asleep. While Upchurch was sleeping, Stratz wandered outside her residence. Several hours later, she was found lying face-down in the snow, unconscious.

Stratz was taken to a nearby hospital where she died. Stratz’s estate sued Upchurch and Right at Home, alleging liability for Stratz’s death.

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Dolores Trendell, 85, was admitted to Clare Oaks for rehabilitation following a fractured ankle.  She suffered from atrial fibrillation, which put her at risk for developing blood clots and suffering strokes and had been taking Coumadin as a blood thinner for years. Trendell was admitted to this nursing home facility on Feb. 23, 2011. Less than a month later, a nurse at Clare Oaks documents that Dr. Percival Bigol, the doctor responsible for managing her medication, spoke to the nurse by phone and ordered the Coumadin discontinued.

The nurse, Christina Martinez, did so and documented the change twice, but chose not to include it in the “physician orders” section of Trendell’s medical chart.

Dr. Bigol denied ever giving the order or being aware of the change at the time. Trendell ceased receiving Coumadin on March 16 and suffered a stroke two weeks later.

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Minnie Pearson was admitted to Carrington Place of St. Charles after she suffered a stroke. She was in her mid-70s at the time. About a month after her admission, nursing aide Heather Clark administered hydralazine to Pearson although it was another patient’s medication. She then became unresponsive and hypotensive.

The nursing home staff responded by attempting resuscitation and later called 911. However, Pearson died several months later. She was survived by four adult children.

The Pearson estate and family sued the nursing home, Heather Clark and her employer, Accountable Healthcare Staffing, alleging negligent administration of the hydralazine and choosing not to timely summon emergency medical assistance.

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Tho Nguyen, 43, suffered from a traumatic brain injury and quadriplegia. He lived in a private home and received services from a non-profit corporation that provided community-based care to persons with disabilities.

Nguyen’s sister, who was his guardian, learned that he suffered a bruise on his left side, allegedly coming from an incident in which a caregiver pulled him from his wheelchair and kicked him while he was lying on the ground. Nguyen’s sister, on his behalf, sued the community-based care center alleging negligent hiring, supervision and retention of the aide who, plaintiff asserted, was previously named in a domestic dispute.

The defendant denied the incident ever took place but still settled the case.

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Jovan Hinich was 28 years old and suffered from a neurological disorder that limited his mental capacity to that of a toddler. He lived at Next Step in Community Living facility, where his care plan required him to be supervised while eating and for his food to be cut into bite-sized pieces due to his tendency to eat quickly and swallow food without chewing it.

While he was traveling by van to his day program at the Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI), he was allowed to access his lunch, including a sandwich. After arriving at MCFI, Hinich collapsed from an obstructed airway. Part of the sandwich was later removed from his throat.

Hinich suffered cardiopulmonary arrest, which resulted in severe brain damage.  He now resides at a facility for those with brain injuries.

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Violet Moseson, a 97-year-old resident of an assisted living facility, was mandated to be checked on every morning. The facility was to perform safety checks each morning for this resident and others. At the time of this occurrence, the electronic system through which the facility was supposed to communicate with Moseson was not turned on in her apartment when she moved in.

A week later, Moseson fell in her apartment at night. It was alleged that she spent the next 2-3 days trying to get help. There was a trail of blood and excrement in her apartment when a family member found her lying on the floor. Because of the severity of the fall, Moseson suffered spinal fractures, contusions as well as progressive dementia. Moseson died several months later and is survived by her two adult sons.

The decedent’s estate and family brought a claim that was arbitrated against the assisted living facility. It was maintained that the facility chose not to check on Moseson every 24 hours and chose not to activate the call system in her apartment. The defendant facility disputed the length of time that Moseson had been left in the apartment after her fall and countered that she was at fault for failing to purchase an emergency pendant. Many elderly people wear a pendant around their necks for emergencies. The pendant has a call button that alerts a switch board that then contacts family members.

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Ms. Doe, 78, suffered from blindness and mild dementia. Her nursing home care plan called for her to receive assistance from at least two people during any type of physical transfer. This would mean transfer from her bed or transfer from a chair or a transfer from her wheelchair. Nonetheless, only one nursing home aide assisted Ms. Doe when transferring her to the toilet. Under these circumstances, Ms. Doe fell and fractured her left tibia and fibula. She died six days later as a result of her injuries. Ms. Doe was survived by her two adult sons.

Ms. Doe’s family sued the nursing home claiming it chose not provide adequate transfer assistance, which led to her fall and unfortunate passing. The defendant nursing home argued that Ms. Doe’s death resulted from her underlying medical conditions, not from her fall. Before trial, the case was settled for $325,000 confidentially.

The attorney representing the Doe family was Brett R. Leitner.

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