Everything listed under: elder neglect

  • 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 Patient Breaks Neck and Dies Following Fall from Lift; Nursing Home Settles

    A stroke-compromised, immobile nursing home patient was being transferred using a mechanical lift when staff permitted the patient to fall to the floor. Only one aide was present during the attempted transfer despite the fact that two staff members were required to be present at all times during mechanical lift transfers. In addition, discovery revealed that the nursing home was aware, years before the fall, that the lift was defective.

    Cervical Spine FractureThe nursing home did not obtain a CT scan of the patient’s neck until almost three weeks after the fall, during which time the patient’s head was observed to be positioned “downward and resting on her chest,” the patient became increasingly lethargic and her appetite decreased. The patient could not follow commands and her grip also became weak. The CT scan revealed a neck fracture at C2 with extensive swelling within the spinal canal from C1-C4 with spinal cord compression.

    Once the neck fracture and spinal cord compression were diagnosed, the patient was hospitalized. However, because the neck fracture and spinal cord injury had not been timely identified, the patient’s physicians concluded surgery would be of no benefit. The patient began receiving hospice and palliative care, became less responsive, refused medication, and ultimately refused meals. The patient died three and one-half months after the fall. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for its failure to take proper fall prevention measures. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount.

  • Nursing Home Patient Falls During Transfer; Nursing Home Settles

    An 83-year-old nursing home patient was permitted to fall during a transfer from chair to bed. On admission toLeft Knee Injuries the nursing home, the patient was noted to have dementia, required total assistance for all ADLs, and required a mechanical Hoyer lift for transfers. Prior to the fall, the patient was known to be unable to attempt balance tests without physical help. The patient also had a limited range of motion in all extremities, her cognitive skills were compromised, she required cues and supervision for decision-making, and she was unable to feed herself.

    As a result of the fall, the patient sustained multiple fractures of the left leg and ligament tears of the left knee. After the fall, the patient was noted to scream in pain when her left leg was touched and when she was repositioned. The patient required powerful narcotics after the fall for pain management. The patient was a poor surgical candidate, so she received a knee immobilizer to stabilize the left leg fractures and other injuries. The patient’s orthopedist noted that the fractures had healed within two and one-half months after the fall, but the patient continued to experience decreased mobility. The patient died for reasons unrelated to the fall approximately one year later.

    We were able to obtain a generous six-figure settlement for the patient’s family shortly after a lawsuit was filed and before any significant time or expense was incurred during the case. The exact settlement amount is confidential at the nursing home’s request.


    Left Knee Inuries
  • Nursing Home Patient Allowed to Fall When Exiting Shower; Nursing Home Settles

    Right Wrist FractureAn elderly female nursing home patient who was ambulatory, but required assistance with bathing and toileting, was allowed by the supervising nursing home aide to fall when exiting the shower. The aide did not provide the patient with proper supervision or safety measures for exiting the shower. As a result of the fall, the patient sustained a comminuted fracture of the right wrist and an intertrochanteric fracture of the right hip. The right hip fracture required open reduction and internal fixation surgery. Four days later, the patient required open Right Hip Fracturereduction and internal fixation surgery for the right wrist. The patient recovered without complications and returned to her pre-fall status within several months after the fall.

    The nursing home settled the case for a six figure amount. The exact amount of the settlement is confidential at the nursing home’s request.


    Right Wrist Fracture wtih Surgical Fixation Rigth Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • Nursing Home Settles Case Involving Resident-on-Resident Assault

    An elderly, mobile, female nursing home patient was assaulted at the facility by another resident. The patient, who was in her room at the time of the assault and injury, was able to ambulate with a walker before the fall. The resident was pushed to the floor during the assault, where she was later found by nursing home staff, lying in a pool of blood caused by a laceration to her head. The victim was also complaining of severe left hip pain which was later diagnosed as a severe left hip fracture.

    Left Hip Fracture With Surgical FixationThe nursing home at which the assault occurred knew that the resident responsible for the assault was dangerous. In the year before the assault, he was documented in the nursing home’s records to have been involved in repeated aggressive, violent episodes of both actual and threatened harm to other residents, guests, and nursing home staff. Specifically, the resident was documented to have punched another resident in the nose, was noted to be “aggressive” with staff, and would frequently wander into other resident’s rooms. When staff attempted to re-direct the resident, he became angry. In addition to punching another resident in the nose, he was also noted by nursing home staff to have sexually assaulted another female nursing home resident and to have pushed other male residents.

    On the date of the injury to the female victim of the assault, the aggressive resident went into the female patient’s room and pushed her. A nurse heard the female patient “screaming and yelling for help” and found her “on the floor in a puddle of blood coming from her head” with the aggressive resident standing nearby. The female victim told the nurse the aggressive male resident had pushed her. While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, the female patient “kept thrashing around saying she broke her leg.”

    When rescue squad personnel arrived, they documented the female resident complaining of severe back, left hip, and head pain and had a “notable deformity” of her left hip. They also documented “noticeable blood loss” on the floor from the female patient’s head laceration.

    As a result of the fall, the female patient sustained a comminuted crush fracture of the left hip, which required surgery. The female patient also required staples for her head laceration, as well as powerful narcotics for pain control. The female patient likewise sustained significant loss of function as a result of the fall, fracture, and surgery. Her family discharged her to a separate facility, where she continued to live until her death several years later from causes unrelated to the fall. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential, generous six-figure amount.


    Left Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • Roanoke Nursing Home Patient Develops Pressure Sore Requiring Amputation; Facility Settles

    A Roanoke nursing home permitted its elderly female patient to develop pressure ulcers (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) on her right heel and right foot. When the pressure ulcers (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) were first documented, they were described to involve eschar (dead tissue). The pressure ulcers (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) were thereafter permitted to deteriorate because the facility failed to take timely pressure ulcer prevention measures. Within two months of the date on which the pressure ulcers (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) were first noted, the patient required a below-the-knee amputation of the right leg. The nursing home also permitted the patient to develop pressure ulcers (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) on her lower back and hips. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for failing to take timely and proper pressure ulcer prevention measures. The nursing home settled the case for a confidential amount in the mid-six 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

 

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.