Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Mr. Doe, 84, suffered from advanced dementia and lived in a nursing home. One morning, a nursing assistant found Mr. Doe lying in his bed with his head caught between the bed frame and side rail. Shortly after he was discovered, Mr. Doe was pronounced dead. The nursing home allegedly falsely reported to the medical examiner that Mr. Doe had died of cardiac arrest related to his hypertension.

A lawsuit against the nursing home alleged that it chose not to use safe bedrails that allowed for 2 3/8 inches of space between the mattress and the bedrails. The Doe family charged that the space between Mr. Doe’s bedrails and mattress was 7 inches, which allowed him to slide in between the mattress and rails, becoming trapped and strangled.

The lawsuit also alleged that the defendant nursing home had wrongfully chosen not to report that the actual cause in Mr. Doe’s death was bedrail strangulation.

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Ms. Doe, 56, was a nursing home resident who suffered from multiple sclerosis and used a wheelchair. When she was loaded onto a medical transport van that was parked on an incline, she was not fully secured to the wheelchair. She slid from the wheelchair and suffered bilateral leg fractures as a result of this fall. The injuries necessitated a cast and bracing.

In addition, she required hospitalization and underwent a blood transfusion and oxygen supplementation. Despite this care and treatment, her condition worsened. She died 17 days after this incident.

The lawsuit alleged wrongful death and failure to secure Ms. Doe into her wheelchair. The defendant argued that Ms. Doe had died of unrelated causes.

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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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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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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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Superior Care Homes resident Regina Tallent was 84 years old and suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, macular degeneration, hand contractures and cognitive deficits.

Her condition required one-to-one care and a mechanical soft diet to prevent choking. Over the course of one month, she experienced two choking incidents while eating a strawberry and a cherry tomato.

The second incident caused Tallent to turn blue and lose consciousness. While she was choking, a Heimlich maneuver was applied.

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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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Kathleen Menard, 97, was a resident in an assisted living facility. While she was in an outside courtyard at her assisted living facility on an extremely hot day, she fell off her motorized scooter and landed behind some trees.

She was found unconscious about four hours later and transferred to a hospital for treatment of heat-related illness, including a third-degree sunburn. Menard died within two months. She was survived by her adult son and daughter.

Menard’s children, on behalf of her estate, sued the assisted living facility and its owner alleging that it chose not to ensure her safety by, among other things, checking on her while she was outside, installing security cameras in the courtyard and trimming the trees in the courtyard to ensure staff members had a full view of residents who were outside of the facility.

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Opal Moore, 92, suffered from dementia with agitation. After a hospital stay, she was admitted to the memory care unit at Superior Care Home for rehabilitation.

When she was admitted, her family instructed various nursing home personnel and its owner that she had aggressive behaviors, such as spitting and cursing. A care plan was established, which included a psychological consultation.

However, the consultation was not done and her aggressive behaviors increased. Several months after her admission, she spat on another resident in the dining room. A nurse then contacted her attorney-in-fact and requested that the family provide sitters.

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Rae Hemingway was admitted to the Crestview Center Nursing Home. At the time of the admission, Hemingway’s risk factors were falling, which were documented; they included her history of falls, contractures, decreased circulatory function, and use of assisted ambulatory devices. She was considered a fall risk. By order she was not permitted to walk or remain unattended as a resident of this nursing home because of her fall risks.

Nonetheless, Hemingway was allowed to walk from the facility’s lobby down a hallway. She fell and struck her head and face resulting in a traumatic subarachnoid hematoma and multiple fractures to her face and arms.

Hemingway died several weeks later from complications of her injuries. She was survived by her adult son and daughter.

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