Articles Posted in Inadequate staffing

Pura Figueroa, 93, suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia and lived at the Muskego Nursing Home. While she was in the nursing home’s activity room with approximately eleven other residents, she fell, suffering a subdural hematoma and a facial laceration.

Figueroa died a few days later.  She was survived by her adult daughter.

Figueroa’s daughter, on behalf of her estate, sued the nursing home alleging that it chose not to properly monitor her mother, failed to adequately train employees, and failed to provide adequate staff.

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Muriel Eastwick was in her 90s and suffered from dementia. She lived at Statesman Health and Rehabilitation Services, a skilled nursing facility owned by Extendicare and other entities.

During the years that she lived at this facility, she suffered from malnutrition, dehydration, chronic urinary tract infections, broken teeth, skin problems and bruising, an infected hip wound, an abscess on her buttock, and a Stage III pressure sore on her left heel.

Eastwick eventually died from these health issues. She was survived by her two adult children.  Her daughter, on behalf of her mother’s estate, sued Extendicare Inc., alleging negligent hiring and staffing, choosing not to provide adequate hygiene and nutrition, and deciding not to prevent and treat the pressure sore that Eastwick had developed.

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A nursing home resident, Verna Kelley, suffered from dementia and other medical issues including incontinence. She required special care and was living at Edgewood Convalescent Home. While a nurse’s aide was taking care of her and while the nursing aide placed a pad underneath Kelley, the aide went around to the other side of the bed, where the bed rails were left opened. The aide grabbed the pad, which had become stuck, and this caused Kelley to roll out of bed.

Kelley suffered a broken right femur and underwent surgery.  She then suffered a stroke, which led to her death just two weeks later. She was survived by her six adult children.

The Kelley family sued the nursing home, alleging negligent hiring of the aide, who, the Kelley family claimed, had been fired from a previous job for performing an unsafe Hoyer lift.

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Louise Reese, 100, lived at Harbison Hall Assisted Living. While an employee of the facility was helping her get up from the commode, she dropped her to the floor. Reese suffered bilateral femur fractures.  Without further examination, the employee of the facility put her back in her bed and covered her up with bed sheets and blankets.

When a hospice aide arrived to see Reese, she found her moaning in pain. The aide also discovered severe swelling and bruising around Reese’s knees and lower thighs. X-rays revealed the femur fractures in both legs. Although Reese was transported to a hospital for care and treatment, she unfortunately died the next day.

Reese’s estate sued Harbison Hall alleging that its employee chose not to protect the patient while moving her from the commode to a wheelchair. It was also alleged that the employee failed to call for help when she dropped Reese and failed to evaluate her. There was also an allegation that the assisted living facility and its employees decided not to report the fall to Reese’s family. The lawsuit also alleged inadequate staff training. It may be obvious, but it seems likely that the nursing aide or employee elected to hide her condition under the bed clothes after she dropped Reese to the floor and elected not to tell anyone about the fall, which undoubtedly severely injured the fragile 100-year-old woman.

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Christine Mitchell, 70, was a resident of Grace Healthcare of Tucker where she required assistance with all activities of daily living.

One morning, a nursing home assistant attempted to change Mitchell’s bed linens while she remained in the bed.

While the bed linen change was ongoing, the nursing assistant rolled Mitchell off the bed. She suffered a large bruise on the right side of her forehead and was later diagnosed as having a subdural hematoma — bleeding within the brain.

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The names of the individuals in this nursing home lawsuit were made confidential. Mr. Roe, a nursing home resident with a history of criminal sexual violence, became friendly with a fellow resident, an 82-year-old woman, Ms. Doe, who suffered from dementia. The staff at the nursing home, Maple Farm Nursing Home, were concerned about Doe and Roe being together. The situation was discussed with the County Office of Aging, which agreed to keep Doe and Roe separated.

Nevertheless, the nursing home chose not to do so. Early one morning, Mr. Roe went to Ms. Doe’s room and sexually assaulted her. The police were summoned to the nursing home and Roe admitted to the assault.

Ms. Doe, through a representative, sued the nursing home, its parent company and Mr. Doe ,alleging liability for the sexual assault.

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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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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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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

A federal jury in North Carolina entered its verdict in favor of the families of three nursing home residents who died at Blue Ridge Health Care Center.  The lawsuit filed for the wrongful deaths claimed these deaths were caused by the callous neglect of these and other nursing residents.

The jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages in the case. The suit alleged that the nursing home’s medical staff chose not to properly monitor the patients, allowing them to remove their own breathing tubes without proper safeguards in place. The families alleged in these wrongful death lawsuits that the patients all required ventilator or tracheotomy tubes, which the residents were able to  remove on their own.  There was claimed to be little or no medical staff intervention to prevent residents from removing their ventilators or tracheotomy tubes.

The jury entered the verdict in favor of the families of the nursing residents — Baird, Jones and Kee — compensatory damages of $50,000, $300,000 and $300,000, respectively, and punitive damages to each family in the amount of about $1.5 million.

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