Assisted living and nursing home facilities are routinely understaffed because the owners of these facilities often put profits over safety. Staffing shortages will result in problems and neglect, including patient falls.
Basch & Keegan recently recovered $300,000 from a local nursing home that allowed an infirm patient to fall three times in a three-week period. She died shortly thereafter.
Prior to her death, the deceased woman had gone to the facility for rehabilitation after a hip surgery. The admissions team was aware of her complicated medical history, which rendered her a high risk for falls. Unfortunately, the facility neglected to implement adequate fall preventions. This failure resulted in the woman falling three times in three weeks.
A nurse found her on the floor next to her bed after the first unwitnessed fall. She was not injured, and an order for a mobility monitor was obtained and implemented. Her bed was placed in a low position. The mobility monitor was discontinued shortly after with the reasoning “alarm disturbs the resident’s sleep,” and no additional interventions were implemented.
The second unwitnessed fall occurred days later when she was found on her bedroom floor in the middle of the night. Her hip became dislocated during this fall so she was transported to the hospital. An orthopedic doctor was able to close the hip dislocation.
The woman was readmitted to the same facility for rehabilitation. Only a few days later, she suffered her third unwitnessed fall. She was in immense pain and was taken back to the hospital where it was again determined that she had dislocated her hip. The hip dislocation could not be reset.
Sadly, our client began displaying evidence of pneumonia, due to complications of sedation. After a few days, she became septic with bronchitis, colitis, hypoxemia, hypotension and anemia. She was too unstable to take to the operating room. Following her third and final fall the focus changed from rehabilitative to comfort care. She sadly passed away a few days later.
During discovery, it was determined that the nursing staff and owners of the facility failed to properly care for the woman and failed to protect the woman from falls. These failures on the part of the nursing home constituted serious breaches of the duty of care and may have qualified as violations of state and federal laws governing nursing home care.
John DeGasperis held the facility accountable by negotiating a settlement $300,000 just weeks before the trial was set to begin.