George Dahmer was a fierce competitor in the wrestling world, where he was known as Chief White Owl back in the 1950s and 1960s. He was especially revered for his several comebacks.
But fighting for his life after a stint at a Lake Worth nursing home where he was severely neglected turned out to be a battle he couldn’t win. After his death, his family filed suit. Late last month, a Palm Beach County civil jury awarded them $1.8 million in damages.
Our Lake Worth nursing home abuse attorneys understand that Dahmer’s widow is hoping the case will serve as a foundation to enact new legislation to improve regulations and standards for nursing home care in Florida.
According to media reports, Dahmer was beginning to suffer increasing episodes of dementia back in 2007. He was then hospitalized for a short time in early 2008 before he was admitted to Lake Worth Manor, which is now known as Oasis Health.
Almost immediately, the 72-year-old’s condition began to rapidly decline. Within just two months, he lost more than 30 pounds. He was severely dehydrated. This was a man who did not use a wheelchair and could communicate just fine. Within short order, he could no longer talk or walk.
His family members told jurors that nursing home staffers at one point lost his false teeth. However, they never took any action to replace them.
It was also alleged that staffers significantly over-medicated him, as they often did not closely monitor his medicine. This resulted him being essentially comatose, his family said.
The fact that he was lying there, motionless, inevitably caused skin infections. He started to develop ulcers on his tailbone and on both heels. These bedsores were so bad that they spread through his skin and down to the bone. As one family member put it, “He was literally rotting away.”
His wife, who had been voicing her concerns to the staff, finally had enough and demanded that he be transferred to another facility. A few weeks later, a bed became available at an Alzheimer’s facility, and he was taken there.
However, he was incredibly weak by that point. He was soon admitted to JFK Medical Center. To give you an idea of how awful his condition was, he was too weak to even receive a feeding tube so that his body could get the nourishment it desperately needed. Plus, the condition of his feet, due to the ulcers, was so bad that doctors at one point even considered a dual amputation.
He died before a decision could be made.
During the trial, it was revealed that staffing – or rather lack of it – was a problem at the facility, as it is for many nursing homes throughout Florida. Dahmer’s family says this affected morale among the employees at the facility, who were overworked and did not give people the care they required.
The nursing home has said they may appeal the decision, arguing that Dahmer instead passed of complex medical issues that had little to do with the care he received.
However, his swift decline once he was admitted seems to indicate otherwise. That’s why if you start to notice a family member taking a turn for the worse shortly after being admitted to a new facility, question everything. If you aren’t getting anywhere with the staff, contact an attorney.
Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
George Dahmer neglect case: Jury awards widow Patricia Dahmer $1.8 million in nursing home neglect, Nov. 21, 2012, By Marc Freeman, Sun Sentinel
More Blog Entries:
Nursing Home Abuse: Always Question Staff’s Version of Injuries, Nov. 10, 2012, Lake Worth Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog