Everything listed under: nursing home safety

  • Nursing Home Patient Dies After Permitted to Fall From Shower Chair; Nursing Home Settles

    Pain MedicationAn elderly female nursing home resident who required assistance bathing was permitted to fall forward from a shower chair to the floor while being showered at the facility. The aide providing shower care to the resident failed properly to supervise and assist the resident at the time of the fall.

    Right Femur FractureAs a result of the fall, the patient sustained a right hip fracture which required open reduction and internal fixation surgery.  The patient required narcotic pain medication after the fall. Following surgery, the surgical site became infected and required an additional surgery to remove the infection. The surgical wound was then treated with a wound vacuum.

     

    TimelineIn addition, the patient had to undergo multiple surgeries following the incident due to bowel complications that arose after the fall. As with the hip surgery, the wound created by the bowel surgery deteriorated and required a wound vac. Less than two months after the fall, the patient was diagnosed with MRSA infection of the surgical wounds at the right hip and abdomen. The patient died 49 days after the fall from sepsis and respiratory compromise. The patient’s descent from the fall until death is reflected on a timeline that summarizes her injuries and treatment.

    The case against the nursing home was settled, but the settlement amount is confidential at the nursing home’s request.

     


    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 Right Femur Fracture Timeline
  • Nursing Home Settles Case After Allowing Patient to Fall and Sustain Hip Fracture

    An elderly nursing home patient diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia was admitted to a nursing home for rehabilitation following a hip fracture in May 2008. On admission to the facility, the patient was noted to be a high fall risk. While at the facility, the patient was permitted to fall more than 10 times. In February of 2010, the patient, who required extensive assistance for all ADL’s, fell while unattended in the restroom. The facility’s records indicate that the fall occurred before 9:00 a.m., however, the patient was not sent to the hospital until 12:45 that afternoon.

    Right Femur Fracture with Fixation SurgeryAs a result of the fall, the patient sustained a right hip fracture which required internal fixation surgery. After the fall, the patient required powerful narcotics for pain management. The patient then returned back to the facility where the fall occurred. The patient's surgical wound later became infected and required antibiotic treatment. One month after the fall, the patient’s orthopedist noted that the fracture had little new bone formation. Three months after the fall, the patient developed a urinary Pain Medication Exhibittract infection and required hospitalization because the treatment at the nursing home had been ineffective. Following treatment for the infection, the patient was placed on hospice care. The patient passed away shortly thereafter.

    The nursing home settled the case for a confidential, generous six-figure amount.

     

     


    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 Exhibit
  • 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
  • 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 Allows Patient to Fall During Care & Sustain Fractures; Nursing Home Settles

    An elderly, immobile nursing home patient was allowed to fall from her bed to the floor while being repositioned during incontinence care. The nursing home aide responsible for the fall turned the patient away from her to the opposite side of the bed, left the patient on her left side, and required the patient, who had sustained a stroke with right-sided compromise, to use her right hand to hold onto the repositioning bar/rail of the bed for safety. The aide then turned away from the patient, and the patient fell from her bed to the floor.

    After the fall, the patient complained of pain to her right arm and right leg. When ambulance attendants arrived at the nursing home after the fall, the patient told the ambulance staff that she did not want to return to the nursing home because the facility did not take care of her. The patient was transferred to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with a right shoulder fracture and a right femur fracture. The patient was not a surgical candidate, so the fracture was treated conservatively. The patient’s right arm was placed in a sling and her right leg was placed in a leg immobilizer.

    The immobilizer, which was required to stabilize the fracture, caused pressure around the lower leg and caused Right Arm and Leg Fracturesa Stage IV pressure ulcer to develop several weeks after the fall and fractures. The pressure ulcer (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) was documented to be unstageable with purulent green foul smelling drainage. Within a couple of weeks thereafter, the pressure ulcer (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) was noted to involve exposed tendon and bone in the right leg. The pressure ulcer (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer) required sharp debridement and was the source of significant pain. The patient later developed sepsis and bacteremia from infection of the right lower leg pressure ulcer (bed sore, pressure sore, decubitus ulcer). The patient died a little over three months after the fall. The patient’s family sued the nursing home for failing to provide proper fall prevention. The nursing home settled for a confidential amount of money in the mid-six figures.

 

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.