Nursing Home Lawsuit Resulting in a Resident’s Death for Delayed Transfer to Hospital

Rosemary Jackson was a resident of the defendant’s Nature Health Trail Center in Mount Vernon, Ill., where she was rehabilitating after a colonoscopy at a different facility. She was 85 years old when she returned to Nature Trail following that colonoscopy. Over the next four days she was lethargic and showed signs of changes in her mental status.

Her daughter asked the nursing home staff to call the attending physician, but no call was made. On May 17, 2010, Jackson’s daughter telephoned the attending physician herself and told the doctor of her concerns about her mother’s condition. The doctor ordered an evaluation at the hospital.

An ambulance was called, but Jackson refused to go to the hospital. The daughter maintained that the nursing staff talked her out of going to the hospital.

The family during this lawsuit maintained that the defendant nursing home should have transported Jackson to the hospital pursuant to the daughter’s request due to her power of attorney for healthcare.

The nursing home staff claimed that they could not locate a power of attorney form in their records. Jackson subsequently vomited a green substance on the following evening, May 18, 2010, and her vital signs deteriorated significantly.  She was then transported to the emergency room at the hospital where she was diagnosed with a perforated colon presumably having occurred during the May 14 colonoscopy.

Jackson underwent surgery to remove a portion of her colon, but she remained in septic shock in the intensive care unit until she died on May 25, 2010.

The family contended that the perforation would have been diagnosed earlier if she had been sent to the hospital as requested, which could have led to a successful treatment by way of a laparoscopic repair surgery. In that case, the family’s lawyer argued to the jury that she would still be alive.

The defendant contended that the nursing staff complied with the standard of care, there was no significant change in the patient’s condition until 10:45 p.m. on May 18, 2010 and that the nursing home staff acted appropriately in getting Jackson to the hospital at that time.

The defendant’s lawyer noted that this case is believed to be the first Illinois jury trial using the new Illinois Pattern Jury Instruction 190 series under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act.

The demand to settle the case before trial was $900,000. The only offer made to resolve the case by the defendant was $30,000.

At trial, the Jackson family utilized experts in nursing and internal medicine while the defendants presented testimony from a nurse and a gastroenterologist.

The jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant nursing home followed a one-week jury trial.

Estate of Rosemary F. Jackson, deceased v. SSC Mount Vernon Operating Company, LLC, No. 12 L 21 (Jefferson, Second Judicial Circuit).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home abuse cases, nursing home negligence cases and medical negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Rolling Meadows, River Grove, River Forest, Western Springs, Willow Springs, Winnetka, Schiller Park, South Barrington, South Chicago Heights, South Holland, Stickney, Palatine, Hanover Park, Harvey, Hazelcrest, Hickory Hills, Hinsdale, St. Charles, Aurora, Flossmoor, Evergreen Park and East Hazelcrest, Ill.

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