Articles Posted in Nursing Home Fall Cases

Doe, 81, lived in a nursing home’s secure memory unit. She tended to wander and had exit-seeking behaviors, necessitating her use of the WandergGuard, a wearable safety device.

Even after a door alarm was activated, a nursing home staff member did not see that she had fallen down multiple flights of stairs. She was discovered at the bottom of the stairs, bleeding and crying for help.

Doe suffered serious injuries, including a subarachnoid hemorrhage. She unfortunately died eight days later.

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Guillermina Ruvalcaba suffered from various health conditions, including dementia and neuropathy. She had also undergone bilateral leg amputations.

After being hospitalized for diabetic ketoacidosis, she was admitted to Hacienda Heights Healthcare & Wellness Centre, an unlicensed skilled nursing facility.

Ruvalcaba’s admission assessment indicated that she was a fall risk due to her leg amputations. Approximately one month later, she wheeled herself without assistance to the facility’s day room. While still unsupervised, she fell out of her wheelchair and suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage. An investigation into the incident led to a nursing director’s determination that her fall was unavoidable.

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Louise High was admitted to Brandywine Senior Living at Upper Providence.  At the time of her admission, High suffered from dementia, hypertension, a bladder tumor and gait dysfunction. Because of these conditions, she was required to receive help with medication and activities of daily living.

During the second week of High’s admission to this facility, the staff at the nursing home found her on the floor of her room, clutching her right hip.  Later that day, she fell on her right side and vomited.

She was taken to a hospital emergency room where she was diagnosed as having a fractured hip and sepsis. Her condition continued to decline. She died several months later and was survived by her two adult sons.

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Paul Smith was admitted to the Attleboro Nursing & Rehabilitation Center where he was recognized as a fall risk. Three years after his admission, he suffered a fall that resulted in a fractured hip. His condition deteriorated, and he died approximately two weeks later. Smith was survived by his son and wife.

The Smith estate sued the nursing home and several related entities alleging that these defendants had chosen not to properly evaluate Smith and failed to take the necessary steps to minimize his risk of falling and injuring himself.  The Smith family lawyer argued that his fall was preventable, which directly led to a decline in his health. It was also alleged that the fall was a cause of his death just two weeks after his hip fracture.

Before trial, the parties settled this case for $120,000.

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Charles Jackson lived at Care Pavilion Nursing & Rehabilitation Center for more than four years. During his time there,  he allegedly suffered more than 14 undocumented falls. After one fall, he was found on a bathroom floor and was taken to a hospital where he underwent a hip replacement.

Jackson was returned to the nursing home but was transferred back to the hospital less than one month later.  There, he was diagnosed as having sepsis and severe dehydration.

He died just over two weeks later from respiratory distress, sepsis and a prosthetic hip infection. Jackson, 83 at the time of his death, was survived by his adult daughter.

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Vera Petrella was a resident of the Arden Courts of Yardley long-term care facility. She had a history of coronary artery disease, hypertension, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Her care plan provided that she would receive assistance transferring her in and out of bed, assistance going to the bathroom and walking. Several weeks after she was admitted, Petrella fell. After several more falls, she suffered a fractured left hip that required surgery. She later died as a result and was survived by her three children.

The Petrella family and children sued Arden Courts of Yardley PA LLC and other entities, alleging claims for wrongful death and survival. The Petrella family claimed that the facility chose not to implement fall prevention measures, adequately assess her condition and provide sufficient supervision.

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Thomas Handzus, 75, suffered from dementia, schizophrenia, malnutrition and other ailments. He was a resident of Meadowview Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.

During his approximate three-month stay at this nursing home facility, he experienced weight loss, aggressive behavioral disturbances and confusion. Handzus also left the facility unsupervised or was wandering.  It became necessary for him to be transferred to a behavioral health unit for psychiatric care.

After Handzus returned to the nursing home, he fell and hit his head. Following a hospitalization, he was transferred to hospice care and died several days later. He was survived by his son.

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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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Elaine Waintrup, 91, was admitted to Rydal Park Nursing Home. She lived there for almost four years. During this time, she suffered multiple falls, sometimes falling more than once in the same day.

The injuries from the falls she suffered included facial and head lacerations and a nasal fracture that necessitated hospitalizations.

In addition, an investigation that was conducted after one of her falls led to an Adult Protective Services determination that Waintrup had been the subject of caregiver negligence.

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Mary Ritter was a nursing home resident. She had a history of kidney disease and a left leg amputation.  During a transfer at the nursing home, she was dropped to the floor. She suffered a traumatic femur fracture.

She then developed necrotic pressure ulcers, which led to a decline in her condition and ultimately was a cause of her death. She was just 60 years old at the time and was survived by her two adult children.

The Ritter estate and family sued the nursing home and several of its providers alleging nursing home malpractice and wrongful death.  After the parties agreed to a confidential settlement, the plaintiffs filed a petition with the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund. Before trial, the parties settled for $205,200.

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