Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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Lillie Michelet was admitted to the Countryside Care Centre Nursing Home on April 21, 2014. She was discharged on June 21, 2014 with bed sores on various parts of her body. The bed sores allegedly caused sepsis, which was a cause of her death on June 29, 2014.

Michelet’s son, William Harris, as special administrator of her estate, brought a lawsuit against the various nursing home entities, including Countryside Care Centre Inc. and Countryside Care LLC (collectively, Countryside defendants), claiming negligence and violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/1-101 et seq.).

The trial judge granted summary judgment to the Countryside defendants because they sold Countryside Care Centre to Symphony Countryside LLC on Dec. 31, 2011 and thus had no ownership, operational interest, or financial interest of the facility during the time Michelet was a resident.

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Carolyn Cauffiel was 75 and had a history of pneumonia. She was admitted to the Heartland Rehabilitation and Care Center for a five-month period.

While she was there, she complained of breathing problems. An attending nursing home nurse came to assist her but did not auscultate her lung sounds. Auscultate is a Latin verb to listen to the internal sounds of the body, usually using a stethoscope. Auscultation is done for the purposes of examining the circulatory and respiratory systems (heart and breath sounds), as well as listening to the gastrointestinal system for sounds.

The nurse then told her colleague that Cauffiel’s lungs were clear and that she was “faking it” (breathing problems).

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The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed a request for a new trial in the wrongful death case against a nursing home where a doctor failed to recognize and diagnose the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism.

The case arose from Mary Sikora’s request for a new trial. She claimed that the nursing home doctor did not realize that the symptoms experienced by her late husband, Chris Sikora, were caused by a pulmonary embolism, not bacterial pneumonia.

The Illinois Appellate Court was split on whether a Golden Rule argument asking the jurors to view the situation from the perspective of the defendant was merely “technically improper” or should be treated as “never appropriate.”

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The state appellate court in Nebraska held that a lawsuit against a nursing home arising out of a patient’s fall from bed required expert testimony to prove causation and was not subject to the common-knowledge exception.

In this case, Musa Gwelo suffered from multiple myeloma, chronic pain, depression, and tachycardia. She was admitted to Life Care Center of Elkhorn and fell out of bed just hours after her admission. She died less than one week later.

Her estate sued the nursing home and its affiliates for her wrongful death. The defendants moved successfully for summary judgment.

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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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In this case, the plaintiff, Merton Messmore, brought a wrongful-death claim against the nursing home in Silvis, Ill., which is about 161 miles west of Chicago. Messmore’s wife, Mary, died after she allegedly fell.

The Illinois Appellate Court called this case “a unique situation” about a stay under Section 2(d) of the Uniform Arbitration Act because the survival claims Messmore filed on behalf of Mary’s estate “are subject to arbitration, his wrongful-death claim is not, and he bases all three claims on the same factual allegations.”

Messmore wanted to proceed in the circuit court but discovery on the wrongful-death claim included taking his evidence deposition (Messmore is at least 90.) without having to wait for arbitration of the survival claims. The defendants, Silvis Operations d/b/a Lighthouse of Silvis and one of its nurses, argued that Section 2(d) required the trial judge to stay all three claims.

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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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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 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.