The Waco Tribune reported that a jury found that Jeffrey Place Rehabilitation Center officials were negligent in their care of a blind, diabetic Waco man and compensated the man’s family $450,000 in actual damages. Homer Byrd, a 79-year-old retired tractor mechanic, died in November 2015, only a month after being admitted to Jeffrey Place.
Jurors deliberated about 7½ hours over two days before siding with Greg H. Byrd and his wife, Kim, in their wrongful death lawsuit against the Waco nursing center and its parent company, Senior Living Properties LLC.
Testimony from the five-day trial showed that Byrd, a diabetic on dialysis, developed an infected big toe that turned gangrenous, which led to Byrd’s right leg being amputated just above his knee and, ultimately, to his death.
Jeffrey Place staff breached the ordinary standard of care by failing to promptly discover and treat the infected toe. Nurses testified they noticed the toe, but not until the wound had turned black, had a foul odor and was 4 centimeters by 5 centimeters.
The awards include $100,000 for pain and mental anguish suffered by Homer Byrd before his death, $75,000 for Greg Byrd’s loss of his father’s companionship and love and $75,000 for Greg Byrd’s mental anguish over his father’s death. The jury awarded $200,000 in deterrent damages so this type of neglect doesn’t happen again.
“Due to the evidence we saw, it was just gross negligence,” juror Crocker said. “There was a lot more that could have been done for this man, and it was just absolute refusal to see a problem that is blatantly obvious.”