Everything listed under: elder safety

  • Patient’s C.Diff Not Timely Diagnosed or Treated; Nursing Home Settles

    A female patient was admitted to the nursing home for short term rehabilitation. While at the nursing home, the patient began experiencing loose stools and diarrhea daily. She also experienced confusion, drowsiness, nausea, light headedness, low blood pressure, weakness, fever, lethargy, and incontinence. Despite daily diarrhea and decline in her medical condition, the nursing home did not test the patient for Clostridium difficile (C.diff) toxins in her bowel. After two weeks of daily diarrhea, the nursing home finally obtained a stool specimen from the patient and transmitted it for C.diff testing. Delays occurred in obtaining and transmitting the stool specimen for testing, during which time the patient’s condition continued to deteriorate. The patient began experiencing large malodorous green mucous stools. C.diff test results revealed the presence of C.diff toxins in the patient’s stool. The patient was prescribed Flagyl to treat the C.diff. The antibiotic was prescribed far too late in the course of the patient’s C.diff illness and the patient was transferred to the hospital in septic shock.

    At the hospital, the patient was diagnosed with severe C.diff colitis and required removal of her colon. Despite colon removal and placement of a colostomy, the patient continued to deteriorate and was diagnosed with multi-system organ failure and peritonitis. The patient died after being hospitalized for several weeks. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for failing to recognize the patient’s C.diff, timely confirm the C.diff with diagnostic testing, and timely treat the C.diff with antibiotics, all of which would have prevented her lengthy disease, hospitalization, septic shock, and death. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount in the seven figures.

  • Nursing Home Allows Patient to Fall and Sustain Hip Fracture; Nursing Home Settles

    An elderly patient at high risk for falls was permitted to sustain four falls within four months at the nursing home. As a result of the first of these four falls, the patient sustained a fracture of the right ninth rib. As a result of the third of the four falls, the patient struck his head and sustained a facial laceration that required stitches. As a result of the fourth of the four falls, the patient sustained a left hip fracture, which required open reduction and internal fixation surgery. The patient later died due to an unrelated illness. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for failing to provide proper fall prevention, which permitted the patient’s repeated falls. The nursing home settled the case confidentially for an amount in the mid-six figures.

  • Medical Transport Drops Patient From Hydraulic Lift Causing Fracture; Company Settles

    Leg Injury

    A medical transport company was lifting a wheelchair-bound patient into the transport vehicle. The patient was placed on a hydraulic lift, which elevated the patient from the ground into the air. The medical transport company did not properly secure the patient’s wheelchair or supervise the patient. As a result, the patient was Left Tibia Fracture with Surgical Fixationpermitted to fall from the elevated hydraulic lift platform onto the pavement below. As a result of the fall, the patient complained of left leg pain. An x-ray revealed a serious fracture of the tibia and fibula. The patient required morphine for pain, was fitted for a left leg immobilizer, and was discharged back to the nursing home at which he was a resident. After non-healing of the fracture, the patient received closed reduction surgery with nailing of the tibial shaft. After surgery, the patient continued to complain of severe pain, which was treated with narcotics. The leg fracture remained permanently unhealed despite surgical splinting/nailing. The patient sued the medical transport company, which settled the case for a confidential amount in the mid-six figures.

    Left Tibia Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • Nursing Home Patient Elopes, Falls, Sustains Fractures, and Dies; Nursing Home Settles

    Traumatic Head InjuriesAn elderly, female nursing home patient with dementia and a history of exit-seeking behavior was admitted to a nursing home’s secure/locked unit to protect her from falls, wandering, and elopement. After a short period on the secure/locked unit, the nursing home moved the patient to a portion of the facility that was not locked. On the unlocked unit, the patient was noted to be “going down to the back doors trying to get out” and to have “went out the front doors,” without supervision. Nursing home staff later watched the patient push “open the door at the end of the hall” in an effort to exit the building without supervision. The patient later actually exited the building and was found in the parking lot without any staff nearby for supervision. Despite attempted and successful exit-seeking by the patient, the nursing home never provided the patient with an alarm (e.g. Wanderguard) to prevent wandering/elopement.

    Within one week of the last of these episodes, a visitor entered the nursing home and shouted the patient was “out in the parking lot.” The patient had again been permitted to exit the building without supervision and rolled down a steep hill in the parking lot toward the road. The patient was found lying in a graveled area near the bottom of the parking lot, conscious but bleeding from her head. As a result of the fall, the patient sustained numerous, severe facial fractures and subarachnoid hemorrhages. The patient was transferred to a local hospital, where she remained in the intensive care unit until her condition stabilized. She was transferred to a transition unit at the hospital for rehabilitation thereafter. After discharge from the hospital’s rehabilitation unit, the patient’s family returned her home for further supportive care. The patient and the patient’s family later sued the nursing home based on the facility’s failure to supervise to prevent wandering, elopement, and other exit-seeking behavior and failure to provide the patient with exit alarms that would notify staff before the patient exited the building. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount in the high-six figures.

     

    Traumatic Head Injuries
  • Nursing Home Permits Patient to Fall and Sustain Hip Fracture; Nursing Home Settles

    An elderly nursing home patient was admitted to a nursing home as a high fall risk. The patient was initially provided with a bed alarm, but the bed alarm was withdrawn by the nursing home shortly after the patient arrived at the facility without any notice to the patient’s family. The patient’s family noticed during a later visit, the patient did not have either a fall alarm in his wheelchair or in his bed. That patient’s family advised the nursing home the patient needed a fall alarm at all times in bed and chair. The nursing home assured the patient’s family a fall alarm would be provided.

    The next day, after the visit by the patient’s family at which the nursing home advised a fall alarm would be provided immediately, the patient fell in his room. The patient had not been provided with a fall alarm. After the fall, the patient complained of severe pain in his hip. X-rays and an MRI were obtained and revealed the patient sustained a hip fracture as a result of the fall. The patient developed breathing difficulties, an increased temperature, and pneumonia. His condition deteriorated and he died at the hospital seven days after the fall. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for failing to take proper fall prevention measures, including its failure to provide the patient with fall alarms in his bed and chair. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount.

  • Nursing Home Patient Without Alarm, Falls and Sustains Hip Fracture; Nursing Home Settles

    Right Hip Fracture with Surgical FixationAn elderly nursing home patient, known by the facility to be at high risk for falls, fell three times within a seven-hour period just days after admission to the nursing home. As a result of the third of the three falls, which occurred when the patient was left unsupervised in his wheelchair without a chair fall alarm, the patient sustained a displaced left hip fracture. The hip fracture required open reduction internal fixation surgery. The patient remained hospitalized following surgery and was later admitted to a different nursing home for skilled care. At the new nursing home, the patient became lethargic and unresponsive.

    A little over one month after the fall, the patient was transferred back to the hospital, where he was observed to have an altered mental status, was diagnosed with sepsis, and died. The patient’s family sued the nursing home at which the fall and hip fracture occurred for failing to take proper fall prevention measures. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount.


    Right Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation-Nursing Home Neglect Injury
  • Assisted Living Patient Falls While Being Supervised; Facility Settles

    An elderly female was, at the time of admission to the assisted living facility, a high fall risk. She required stand-by assistance when bathing, dressing, using a walker, and when toileting. She also suffered from impaired balance and an unsteady gait.Left Femur Fracture with Internal Fixation

    The patient was allowed to fall at the assisted living facility while being supervised by facility staff. As a result of the fall, the patient sustained a spiral distal left femur fracture will displacement, angulation, and significant comminution. The patient received open reduction and internal fixation surgery for the femur fracture, remained at the hospital for one week, and was transferred to a nearby nursing home.

    At the time of the fall, the patient was taken to the bathroom by an aide to be changed. After she was toileted, the aide assisted the patient to her feet and improperly permitted the patient to support herself on a towel bar behind the bathroom door. Unfortunately, the bathroom door was left open, thereby obscuring most of the towel bar and permitting only a fraction of the bar to be used by the patient for support. The patient was also wearing only socks on her feet in a bathroom with a tiled floor.

    The assisted living facility settled the case well before trial for a confidential amount in the mid-six figures.


    Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia. Left Femur Fracture with Surgical Fixation Left Femur Fracture with Internal Fixation

 

PLEASE NOTE: THE RESULTS OBTAINED IN SPECIFIC CASES DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE.  PAST CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN FUTURE CASES.  THE RESULTS DESCRIBED IN THIS WEBSITE ARE FROM VIRGINIA CASES HANDLED DIRECTLY BY OUR OFFICE.