Everything listed under: Nursing Home Trial

  • Fall Results in Largest Verdict Against Nursing Home in Virginia History

    TimelineVirginia Crouse, 84 years old, was admitted to Stanleytown Health Care Center in January 2009. On admission, she was known by the defendants to be a high fall risk due to a prior stroke, dementia, weakness, poor safety awareness, balance issues, the need for extensive assistance during transfers, prior hip fracture with surgery, impaired memory loss, and disorientation, among other medical conditions and limitations.

    Hip Fracture

    Within two weeks of her admission to the facility, the patient sustained a left hip fracture and a left shoulder fracture when she was permitted to fall while using the bathroom at night. The nursing home’s staff did not hear the patient’s attempt to get outof bed because the facility had not provided her with a bed alarm. The fracture to the left hip required surgical fixation and the patient required significant pain medication following the fall.

    MFA Virginia NetworkA lawsuit was filed against Medical Facilities of America, Inc. and Stanleytown Health & Rehabilitation Center. Medical Facilities of America owns 40 facilities throughout Virginia and North Carolina and its corporate headquarters are located in nearby Roanoke, Virginia. [map will be included as exhibit]

    On the patient’s behalf, we claimed the facility failed to protect the patient from falls by failing to follow its own care plan that required nursing home staff to assist Crouse with toileting, check frequently on her safety, provide her with a bed alarm when she was in bed, and provide her with a chair alarm when she was in a chair. We also proved at trial that in the years before the patient’s fall, the defendants trained and instructed their staff NOT to use bed alarms with patients who needed them because they created too much work for nursing home staff. The defendants’ self-serving policies prompted the jury to punish the defendants with a punitive damages award of $5,000,000.

    Left FractureIn addition to the large punitive damages award, the jury awarded the patient $1,500,000 in compensatory damages. The patient incurred $72,998 in injury-related medical bills.

    After a four-day jury trial, the nursing home filed post-trial motions, all of which were denied by the judge.

    Our office attributes the jury verdict to the wonderful family we represented, a great trial judge, and a great jury that understood the many complex and important issues presented at trial. To read the opinion, CLICK HERE


    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.
    Timeline Left Hip Fracture MFA Network Left Shoulder Fracture
  • Nursing Home Permits Patient to Fall from Bed; Jury Sides with Patient’s Family

    An elderly female nursing home patient was permitted to fall from her bed to the floor. The nursing home claimed it was changing the patient’s bed sheets while the patient remained in bed. The patient was turned away from the aide who was making the bed and positioned on her side at the edge of the bed. The aide was looking down, the patient began to fall, the aide did not respond to stop the fall, and the patient fell to the floor.

    As a result of the fall, the patient sustained a left knee fracture and left ankle sprain. The patient’s injuries required physical therapy and occupational therapy but no surgery. The left knee fracture was treated conservatively using a knee immobilizer, and the left ankle sprain was treated with an air cast. The patient’s orthopedic injuries lasted for several months andSylvia Coleman Pain Medication After Fall healed without complication.

    As a result of injuries sustained in the fall, the patient experienced significant pain, which in turn required increased narcotic pain medications and resulted in periodic lethargy/over sedation. Despite attempts to control the patient’s fracture-related pain, break through pain often occurred, limiting the patient’s ability to participate in activities of daily living and progress in therapy and restorative activities. The patient’s injuries also caused her to be less mobile, require additional assistance from staff for activities of daily living, and put the patient at risk of skin break down.

    The patient’s leg immobilizer, which she was required to wear because of the fracture, caused a significant open pressure ulcer (also known as pressure sore, bed sore, and decubitus ulcer) to her left lower leg with drainage, inflammation, and sloughs that impeded wound healing. The leg wound required extensive wound care. The patient also experienced an increased fear of falling.

    The lawsuit was filed by the family Sylvia Coleman v. Medical Facilities of America, Inc. and its affiliated business entities, which included the limited partnership that owned Lynchburg Health & Rehabilitation Center, where the fall occurred.

    We claim the nursing home did not use proper fall prevention measures. Specifically, we claim the aide who turned the patient to her side on the opposite edge of the bed should have rolled the patient toward, not away, from her. In addition, the aide should have more closely supervised the patient for safety to prevent falls. Of course, the nursing home also failed simply to place the patient in a chair for safety while changing the bed sheets. The nursing home denied liability. The patient incurred medical expenses of approximately $14,000.00. After a several-day jury trial in the City of Lynchburg Circuit Court, the jury concluded that the nursing home was negligent and awarded damages in the total amount of $364,500.00. After the jury verdict, the nursing home attempted to appeal the verdict, but later dropped the appeal voluntarily.

    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. Pain Medication Increase After Fall Sylvia Coleman Pain Medication After Fall