Articles Posted in Nursing Home Negligence

Ralph Ford, 73, lived at St. Francis Nursing Center. He suffered from cognitive impairment and had a tendency to wander.

On one night, he left the nursing home unnoticed in his wheelchair. He was found early the next day in a Dumpster several blocks away; his limbs were frozen solid. He unfortunately died shortly thereafter. He was survived by two siblings.

Ford’s estate sued the nursing home alleging it negligently allowed him to leave the nursing home through an unlocked, broken and unarmed door and then delayed initiating a search for him for five hours after discovering that he was missing from his room.

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A Mississippi Appellate Court has held that the two-year statute of limitations for the wrongful death of Sanders Hopkins Sr. was the basis for the dismissal from the lawsuit brought by Hopkins’ son.

Hopkins Sr. lived in the Biloxi Community Living Center (CLC), an assisted living facility.  He who used a wheelchair, required dialysis and was transported to an outside medical facility for these treatments. After dialysis one day, he fell from his wheelchair, hitting his head. Later the same day, he injured his head a second time, which led to a subdural hematoma, the condition that caused his untimely death.

Hopkins’ son sued the company that transported him to the dialysis appointments and the medical facility. More than two years had passed after Hopkins’s death when his son amended his complaint adding CLC as a party defendant.

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Potential clients often report attacks on nursing home residents by roommates or other residents at Illinois nursing homes. Nursing homes typically are home to the elderly, the infirm, the mentally challenged and many who are suffering dementia or other lapses in mental capacity.

In many cases, resident-on-resident violence occurs in Illinois nursing homes on a regular basis.  All too often, nursing home residents suffer serious injuries. Nursing home residents are usually fragile physically and emotionally; thus, a fall, a shove, a strike or a blow to the body may cause serious injuries of all sorts that could lead to untimely deaths.

When a nursing home resident applies for residency, there is an assessment that takes place unique to the applying individual. When screening a prospective nursing home resident, the nursing home administrators examine medical reports, consult with treating physicians and interview family members as well as the prospective resident. This due diligence is a way of identifying potentially violent tendencies of a nursing home resident.

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The Iowa Supreme Court has held that the state owed no legal duty to a nursing home resident who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a convicted sex offender who had been transferred to the nursing home after leaving the state’s civil commitment unit for sex offenders.

Mercedes Gottschalk was a resident of the Pomeroy Care Center, a nursing home.  She was allegedly sexually assaulted by a violent sexual predator who was transferred from a state sex offender unit to this nursing home after receiving an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis.

Gottschalk, and then later her estate, sued the nursing home alleging that it was reckless and negligent in the way the nursing facility cared for her. Pomeroy Care Center filed a cross-claim against the State of Iowa seeking relief. The state moved successfully for summary judgment.  An intermediate appellate court affirmed that decision.

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Livija Cruse, an 80-year-old woman who suffered from mild dementia, was admitted to Chicago’s GlenCrest Healthcare and Rehab Center after falling at her home. She was also immobile. Over an 8-week period, she developed a bed sore on her buttocks. Because of the bed sore, she underwent two debridements and nine months of at-home wound treatment care after her discharge from GlenCrest.

On behalf of Cruse, her attorney-in-fact sued the nursing home and the ownership entities claiming that these defendants chose not to prevent and treat the bed sore.  It was also maintained that the nursing home failed to keep her clean and dry, provide her with an appropriate mattress for her condition and place a cushion on her wheelchair. In addition, the lawsuit argued that the nursing home chose not to comply with a doctor’s order regarding her wheelchair.

The defendants countered these arguments that the facility had in fact provided the appropriate care. Before trial, the parties settled for $100,000.

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There has been a recent uptick in claims and lawsuits brought by nursing home and long-term residents, families and loved ones against nursing homes and their ownership for injuries to residents because of the way they are assisted or not assisted depending on a resident’s dietary needs.

For example, many residents on entry to a nursing home are carefully screened for falls, bed sores, medication and are otherwise admitted to a nursing home after a reasonably careful and prudent screening process.

However, in many cases, the issue of a resident’s disability may be relevant in how he or she is able to eat and digest food.

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The aftermath of Hurricane Irma was responsible for knocking out the air-conditioning at a Florida nursing home. As of Sept. 13, 2017, eight patients at that facility had died related to the heat and humidity when temperatures were extremely high. In fact, the state said four of the deceased nursing home residents had body temperatures between 107 degrees Fahrenheit and 109 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration suspended the license of the rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills, which was the nursing home residence for these nine individuals who have since died.

The nursing home official said they used coolers, fans, ice and other means to try to cool the patients, although these efforts were unsuccessful.

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The Arizona Supreme Court has reversed a summary judgment dismissing a nursing home abuse case.

Marika Delgado was the personal representative of the estate of her sister, Sandra Shaw. Delgado appealed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants who were collectively Manor Care of Tucson.  On appeal, Delgado argued that the court erred in finding that the actions that allegedly caused Shaw’s death were not related to her incapacity as required by Arizona law.

Because the Arizona Supreme Court could not say as a matter of law that the alleged negligence that was a cause of Shaw’s death was unrelated to her incapacity, the state Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial judge and sent the case back for further proceedings.

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The family of Lola Norton, deceased  brought a wrongful death action against a number of defendants who were affiliated with a nursing home in which Bernard Norton’s wife, Lola  died.

Bernard and family claimed that negligent treatment caused Lola’s death. The the nursing home defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint or, in the alternative, to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration of all claims in accordance with an agreement entered into by Lola at the time she was admitted to the nursing home.

The trial court granted the motion to stay and compel arbitration, and Bernard appealed, contending that, as a wrongful death beneficiary, he could not be bound to Lola’s arbitration agreement. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and found that Lola’s beneficiaries were not required to arbitrate their wrongful death claims against the nursing home defendants.

Julio Reyes Concepcion, a 73-year-old nursing home resident of the Royal Suites Health Care & Rehabilitation facility, had a number of different medical and health problems after he suffered a stroke.  He required tube feeding at the nursing home. After a feeding, a nursing staff worker noted that he had vomited.  The nursing home staff did not notify his treating physician.  About five hours later, he was transferred to a hospital suffering from respiratory distress and aspiration pneumonia. Unfortunately, Reyes Concepcion died two days later.

His family sued the nursing home, claiming that its nursing staff negligently chose not to elevate his bed 45 degrees before or after the feeding and chose not to timely respond to signs of respiratory distress.

The jury in this case concluded that the nursing home had been negligent but determined there had been no pain and suffering. The jury’s verdict was for $250,000, which the trial judge later vacated for “excessiveness.”  The case is being retried on damages only.

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