The State reported that a Lexington County jury has found Lexington Medical Center Extended Care guilty of gross negligence in the death of one of its residents. Jurors compensated the family of Samuel B. Cunningham $450,000, including $200,000 for Cunningham’s pain and suffering, medical and funeral expenses, and $250,000 for the family’s mental shock and suffering, wounded feelings and loss of companionship.
Cunningham was admitted to the facility at 815 Old Cherokee Road in Lexington on April 29, 2013, at age 81. He was suffering from dementia and was legally blind. The family alleged that Cunningham often was found by his family soaked in urine, unclean and lacking in oral care. Nursing home records showed Cunningham suffered 26 falls. He was found on the floor 19 times without anyone seeing him fall. On one occasion, he was found on the ground outside the building with multiple ant bites.
“We were heartened by the jury’s verdict and hope that it will provide incentive for the facility to get its act together and start treating its residents with the dignity and care that they deserve.,” Ken Connor, the Cunningham family’s attorney, said in a news release.
The suit alleged improper care; on one occasion, Cunningham fell and required a hip replacement at Lexington Medical Center, which also operates the nursing home.
Cunningham also developed bed sores because of improper care, and was not properly fed. He also developed pneumonia, which was not addressed in a timely fashion by the nursing home.
On July 1, 2015, Cunningham was admitted to Lexington Medical Center suffering from multiple areas of skin breakdown, malnutrition, dehydration and infections, the suit claimed. He was unable to recover from his decline and died two weeks later at Agape Hospice House in Columbia.