A woman in Oregon has filed a $2.7 million lawsuit against a nursing home, as well the physical therapy and hospice providers who were on contract with the facility, for alleged negligence resulting in the death of her elderly mother and stepfather.
According to The Register-Guard, the woman alleges in her wrongful death lawsuit that administrators and therapists at the facility failed to meet the needs of her parents, ages 91 and 92, and that this failure resulted in their premature deaths, just weeks apart from one another.
Plaintiff’s stepfather was 92 when he died in late 2014, and her mother was 91 when she died just a few weeks later. Plaintiff is the representative for the separate estates of both parents, who had each previously been diagnosed with dementia and were deemed a serious fall risk. Even though the nursing home had this knowledge, plaintiff asserts, staffers failed to prevent them from falling numerous times, leading to serious injuries and the acceleration of their deaths.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year, millions of people over 65 fall every year. Only about half of those actually get reported to their doctors. Every year, nearly 3 million older people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Unfortunately, falling once doubles the chance that you will fall again. Of the 3 million people treated in hospital emergency rooms, some 800,000 are hospitalized due to the injury, most often because of a fracture to the head or hip.
For those in nursing homes, falls can be especially serious because residents often have existing issues with comorbidity and are at higher risk of infection.
But while some nursing home fall injuries may truly be unpreventable, that’s not true for the majority. That’s because, just as in this case, nursing home staffers are typically aware when a patient may be at high risk for a fall. In those cases, health care providers owe a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure a fall doesn’t happen. That means providing proper bed railings, wheelchair accommodations and personal assistance. Too often, though, patients’ needs are overlooked, with nursing homes skimping on their staffing budget in particular.
In the Oregon nursing home negligence case, plaintiff alleges her stepfather fell 13 times in just eight months at the facility. In one of those incidents, his head struck the tile bathroom floor and severed half of his ear. Despite his physician’s instructions to provide him with physical therapy to assist him in balance and movement, the center instead falsely indicated his family wanted him placed on hospice care, plaintiff alleges. After one fall in particular, plaintiff says her stepfather was “chemically restrained” while in hospice. He was not given food or water, while simultaneously being given narcotics and tranquilizers, ultimately, plaintiff says, leading to a fatal overdose.
Her mother, meanwhile, fell at least four times in 10 months while at the same facility. Four days before her death, she reportedly fell forward while being pushed in a wheelchair by a nurse aide. This resulted in a brain hemorrhage and a skull fracture, after her head struck a door jamb.
Plaintiff alleges the nursing home didn’t do enough to keep her parents safe. They also suffered the indignity of having items stolen from them, while their cell phones were purposely unplugged to leave them without a means to contact loved ones.
The Department of Health and Human Services in the last four years has cited this facility for 20 substantiated complaints.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Eugene nursing home sued in death of couple, ages 92 and 91, Nov. 22, 2016, By Jack Moran, The Register-Guard
More Blog Entries:
$145M Nursing Home Settlement for Medically Unnecessary Rehab Services, Nov. 21, 2016, Orlando Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Blog