In an interesting Louisiana Supreme Court case, it was held that in the matter of Lessie Porter, a nursing home resident at Southern Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, her abuse and treatment by a nursing home nurse was not a medical malpractice issue under the state’s Medical Malpractice Act. The court ruled that the treatment was not such that mandated the case to be handled under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act, La. Rev. Stat. Ann. ¶ 40: 1299.41.
In this matter, Porter, the nursing home resident, on one particular evening began leaving her room by crawling down a hallway. The attending nurse became frustrated and asked several nursing assistants to drag Lessie to her bed. Lessie was then dragged across a brick floor and injected with a tranquilizer.
Before she died, she sued the nursing home for her injuries claiming negligence, breach of contract and breach of the state’s nursing home resident’s bill of rights. The nursing home moved for summary judgment claiming that the claim brought by Porter fell under the Louisiana Medical Malpractice Act (MMA) which required involvement of a medical review panel. Lessie’s family also moved for partial summary judgment. The trial judge ruled in favor of her family holding that her claims were not medical treatment related.
Affirming the judgment in the ruling, the Louisiana Appellate Court noted that the MMA and its limitations apply only to claims arising from medical malpractice. The court noted that factors used in determining whether the MMA applies include whether the wrongful act at issue was treatment related or involved a physician-patient relationship.
The appeals court rejected the defendant’s argument that any handling of a patient constitutes healthcare, citing the difference between mere custodial versus medical negligence.
The appeals panel concluded that the lower court had not erred in finding that the alleged incident involving Lessie Porter was not treatment related and therefore under the MMA’s purview.
In any case, the court reversed the partial summary judgment finding that there were genuine issues of fact regarding whether the defendant’s employees intended to injure Lessie Porter by dragging her across the floor. The nursing home is entitled to present evidence that its conduct was reasonable under the circumstances, the court held. Consequently, the court remanded the case for further proceedings.
The attorney representing Lessie Porter’s family was Patrick R. Jackson.
Porter v. Southern Oaks Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC, 165 So. 3d 1197 (La. Ct. App. 2015).
Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home abuse cases, nursing home negligence cases and assisted living negligence cases for individuals and families who have been injured or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 38 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas including, Bedford Park, Elk Grove Village, Flossmoor, Wheeling, Joliet, Highland Park, Highwood, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Evergreen Park, South Barrington, Rolling Meadows and Elmhurst, Ill.
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