Published on:

Nursing Home Staff Reportedly Misread Chart, Patient Dies

The family of a woman who died after nursing home staff did not take action to resuscitate her when she was found unresponsive has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the nursing assistant failed to properly read the patient’s chart, and mistakenly believed it stated she did not wish to be resuscitated. However, that was not the case and the 52,-year-old resident, who was initially only supposed to be at the facility a few weeks after suffering a bad case of pneumonia. However, that stay was extended to six months after she allegedly broke her hip after falling while unattended by staffers. She already suffered from kidney disease and diabetes, and that made recovery that much slower.

Then one morning in March 2006, a nursing assistant discovered her unconscious in her bed. About one half hour later, the facility called emergency services to report a death at the site. The caller noted the woman did not wish to be resuscitated and her family was being notified. Ten minutes later, another call was placed to emergency services. This time, the staffer admitted the nursing assistant had misread the chart, and in fact, the woman had wished to be resuscitated. Those efforts were still underway when emergency responders got there. However, they declared her dead upon arrival. 

Plaintiffs are asking for damages in excess of $50,000 for damages for negligence and wrongful death.

In speaking to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News, a representative of the facility stated they could not comment on ongoing litigation, but insisted decedent received the “highest level of care throughout her stay.” The representative also stated it disagreed with plaintiff’s allegations that the care of the nurses or nurses assistants somehow caused decedent’s death.

Despite this denial, the state of Illinois (where this case happened) fined the facility $25,000 in connection with the incident. Further, the residents at the facility now don a pink bracelet if their wish is to not be resuscitated. This change in policy and procedure seems to indicate it was previously prone to error.

The nursing home negligence lawsuit names not just the nursing home, but its parent company and all subsidiaries as defendants. This is often necessary in nursing home abuse cases because nursing home corporations are structured so as to limit liability.

As noted by the Florida Department of Health, a “Do Not Resuscitate Order” or DNRO, is a form or patient identification device that allows people to specify whether they wish to be resuscitated in the event they suffer cardiac or respiratory arrest. Most of the time, those who sign DNROs are suffering from a terminal condition, end-stage conditions or are in a persistent vegetative state. These forms never expire and previous versions of it are honored, though it can be revoked at any time.

Our nursing home wrongful death attorneys understand that respecting one’s end-of-life decisions are imperative. At the same time, nursing homes must have policies and procedures in place to ensure this most important directive isn’t improperly imposed or disregarded against the patient’s wishes.

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.

Additional Resources:

Lawsuit: Lake Villa woman died when nursing assistant misread chart, April 5, 2017, Daily Herald

More Blog Entries:

Report: Nursing Homes Taking on Younger Patients, April 11, 2017, Orlando Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

Contact Information