A newly-filed nursing home neglect lawsuit accuses a facility of failing to properly care for an 88-year-old woman who subsequently died of respiratory failure, pneumonia, sepsis and cardiac arrest.
The lawsuit, brought by the woman’s daughter, alleges that not only was there not enough staff at the facility at any given time, the staff who were there did not provide proper care and did not maintain accurate and complete records of the woman’s treatment.
This same facility was accused of misconduct by other patients. Jurors previously ordered the same facility – and its owner – to pay $677 million in damages to residents and/or their surviving family members for jeopardizing the health care of elderly wards and breaking state law by maintaining bare bones staff with the primary goal of lining administrators’ pockets. A county judge in 2010 later approved a reduced settlement amount of $63 million.
The facility maintains it only agreed to the nursing home neglect settlement because it would have otherwise faced bankruptcy.
Determining whether to take this action, the family says, was not an easy decision. However, what they ultimately decided was that the community needed to know about the kind of care their matriarch received. They needed to know how she suffered and why. And ultimately, the family decided, they believe it is an important step in ensuring similar care is not meted out to others who are elderly and vulnerable.
According to news reports, the decedent up until March 2014 lived alone and used a walker. One day, however, she was rushed by ambulance to a nearby emergency room after suffering a fall. In addition to a laceration on her arm, she was also in the early stages of pneumonia and had a high number of white blood cells, indicating she was also in the early stages of an infection. Her heart rate was also slightly irregular.
The hospital prescribed antibiotics and made sure she received lots of fluids. Her condition improved.
Doctors recommended she be taken to a nursing home at least temporarily because she required 24-7 care and was unable to care for herself. The goal was that she would recover and return home to be on her own again. At the time of her hospital discharge, her condition was fair and she had made steady improvement, plaintiffs say.
Initially during her stay at the nursing home, she seemed to be improving. But then she began reporting she felt “excessively weak.” She seemed to her relatives confused and she complained of pain in her back. Within days, she had bed sores, red rashes and bruises on her back, her family said. Her blood pressure fluctuated. She suffered bladder and bowel incontinence. She had severe abdominal pain.
After two weeks in the nursing home, she was transported by ambulance back to the hospital, where she died.
Her family contends the nursing home did not provide proper care, and that her illness was not a sudden onset, but rather one that developed over the course of those two weeks. Her death was not only scary, painful and prolonged, her family says, it could have been avoided.
Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
Fresno activist sues Clovis nursing home over mother’s death, March 10, 2015, By Pablo Lopez, The Fresno Bee
More Blog Entries:
Lemaire v. Covenant Care – Nursing Home Neglect Verdict Reversed, March 6, 2015, Broward County Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Blog