Jury Finds Nursing Home to Blame for Resident's Death

A Superior Court jury on Wednesday found that an Auburn nursing home committed elder abuse in the death one of it's female residents in 2005. After deliberating fewer than two days, the jurors unanimously agreed that facility, and the company which operated the facility were responsible for the death of the woman.

A large award was granted which included damages for pain and suffering,  loss of companionship.  The jury will also likely award punitive damages due to the "malicious, oppressive, or fraudulent nature" of the conduct. The jury will hear further testimony about the corporation's finances on Thursday before deciding on an amount for the punitive damages.

The victim was 79 years old, spirited and mobile but suffering from mild dementia, when she moved into the home in March 2005, her attorney said. Seven months later, after a fall that resulted in a broken hip, she was dead from an infected bedsore.  During trial the home was accused of chronic understaffing, poor medical documentation and corporate greed. One former employee of the facility admitted he would not place a relative at the home.

The facility has a history of problems with state regulators. The current case was the fourth in recent years in which the home was cited in the death of an elderly patient.
"This is an organization that we have a lot of concerns about," said the attorney for the family. "It's a corporate culture that starts at the top, and trickles all the way down to the charge nurses and other employees." The facility, however, denies the neglect and claims that she had one-on-one care for most of her 7 months at the home. For more, read the story.

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.

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