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.”

 

The Chicago Sun Times reported the $875,000 settlement for the family of a man who choked to death at the facility in 2012.  Antonio Mares died after a nursing assistant at the Center Home for Hispanic Elderly fed him food that was not safe; failed comply with his physician’s diet orders; and violated the resident’s care plan.  He choked while eating without proper supervision.

The Levin & Perconti law firm announced the settlement. The family’s attorneys faulted understaffing and improper training for Mares’ death. Mares’ daughter, Isela Mares, says she hopes “needed changes” will be made at the nursing home.

A certified nursing assistant who was assigned to assist Mares with his evening meal set up the food tray on his table, positioned him to begin eating then stepped away from the area. Mares ate the food unsupervised and began to choke.

After realizing that Mares was choking, the nursing assistant unsuccessfully attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver. He also used the call light to ask for help, but no one responded. Mares was later pronounced dead after further life-saving efforts also proved unsuccessful.

“Our family was robbed of the opportunity to properly say goodbye to my father, and while no sum of money will ever make up for our loss, we are hopeful that this settlement will incentivize the nursing home to make some needed changes,” Mares’ daughter, Isela Mares, said in the statement.

 

The Augusta Chronicle reported the settlement between Amara Health Care, also known as Salem Nursing and Rehab, and its chief executive officer Douglas Mittleider and Norma Manning on the eve of trial.  The terms of settlements are often confidential with no admission of liability.

Manning filed the 2013 lawsuit over the death of her husband of 18 years, Patrick Manning.  Patrick Manning suffered a stroke in 2011. He remained communicative and ambulatory but needed rehab services. He was sent to Amara. Five months later, he could no longer walk to the bathroom. In 16 months, Manning was dead. He had gangrenous pressure sores, dehydration, malnutrition and severe contracture, a condition in which a person’s limbs remained clutched close to the body.

“All I can say is that it was resolved to the satisfaction of the parties,” said attorney Caleb Connor, whose firm represented Manning.

Amara, or Salem, has been sued a number of times in the past 10 years over its care of patients. It also consistently rated below average in the nursing home inspection rating system of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The 213-bed facility went into bankruptcy and was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in May by University Hospital for $3.7 million, according to an earlier report in The Augusta Chronicle.

The Globe Gazette reported the $900,000 verdict against Good Shepherd for the neglect of Maria Savas O’Brien. The jury, which deliberated for about 2½ hours on Friday afternoon and for more than six hours on Monday, determined Good Shepherd was negligent in its care of O’Brien.

The jury also determined the nursing home showed willful and wanton disregard for the rights and safety of another.

Savas O’Brien was at Good Shepherd for 2½ years. She was taken from Good Shepherd to the hospital in late March 2015 and died in early April 2015 at age 84 while in hospice care.

Expert witnesses for the family testified during the nine-day trial that a fall O’Brien had in March 2014 caused a downfall in her health and was preventable. Testimony also was presented alleging possible medication overdoses and staff failure to follow Savas O’Brien’s care plan, and mice in her room that left droppings on her bed, her bedside table and her religious icons.

She weighed 127 pounds when she entered the nursing home and lost 43 pounds while she was there.

O’Brien’s children will receive $150,000 in damages as compensation for her past physical and mental pain and suffering while she was at Good Shepherd. The family also is entitled to $750,000 in punitive damages, according to the jury.

O’Brien’s children — Kristine Christensen, Stephanie Prohaski, Anthony Savas and Theodore Savas —feel vindicated.

She said they did not file the lawsuit “to make a fortune” but to hold Good Shepherd accountable.

“Hopefully nursing homes will remember they are dealing with loved ones’ lives” and treat residents “the way they deserve to be treated,” Prohaski said.

The Globe Gazette reported on the nursing home trial in Iowa involving Good Shepherd nursing home.  Maria O’Brien’s children claim their mother died as the result of Good Shepherd’s negligence.  O’Brien was at Good Shepherd for two and a half years. She was admitted to the hospital in late March 2015 and died in early April 2015.

Byron Arbeit, a licensed nursing home administrator from Florida who now acts as an expert consultant for nursing homes, testified O’Brien developed avoidable conditions such as severe weight loss and skin problems.  Arbeit testified that the facility provided substandard care for Maria.  Good Shepherd did not meet the standard of care for Maria O’Brien that “respected her dignity as a human being,” said Byron Arbeit.  O’Brien also had avoidable falls while she was at Good Shepherd, according to Arbeit.  Steps could have been taken to prevent O’Brien’s numerous falls at Good Shepherd, such as having her in a common area rather than in a room by herself.

Mice in her room left droppings on her bed, her bedside table and her religious icons, he said. Bedbugs were also an issue, according to Arbeit.

During his opening statement, Benjamin Long, one of the attorneys for O’Brien’s family, said she initially was placed at Kentucky Ridge Assisted Living due to a mild case of dementia but went to Good Shepherd so she could recuperate from a broken pelvis after she fell.  O’Brien weighed 127 pounds when she was admitted to Good Shepherd but only weighed 84 pounds when she went to the hospital a few days before her death, Long said.

WREG reported the jury’s verdict compensating the family of a neglected resident at Allenbrooke Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Memphis.  The unanimous jury decided that $30 million was fair and just to compensate the family, and to punish and deter similar conduct in the future.  Of course, the insurance company will attempt to rely on legal technicalities to challenge the jury’s verdict and avoid taking responsibility for the injuries they caused.

Martha Jane Pierce moved into Allenbrooke after her dementia just became too difficult for her family to handle on their own.  Her husband of 60 years soon followed.  She could walk and  didn’t have any skin breakdowns or bed sores.

However, Mrs. Pierce got worse and had to make several trips to and from the hospital for dehydration and malnutrition.  This contributed to the development of a pressure injury or pressure ulcer.  The failure to treat the ulcer or relieve the pressure caused the ulcer to increase in size and depth including reaching all the way to her bone.  The foot ulcer developed an infection because of the facility’s neglect which led to her leg being amputated.   The lawsuit proved that  many of the problems at the nursing home were due to a lack of staffing.

Her family sued the nursing home, its parent company and several other executives a year after her death. Last week, after years of delays, a jury ruled in their favor and returned a verdict with damages worth more than $30 million.

 

 

Newsday and Long Island Business News reported the $28 million settlement between Medford Multicare Center for Living and its owners Mordechai Klein; Susan Aschkenazi; Norman Rausman; and Rausman’s kin, Martin Rausman, Michael Rausman and Henry Rausman, all of Monsey and NY Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

The owners were accused of paying themselves millions in public funds while slashing costs that negatively affected patient care.  The owners were accused of corporate looting for diverting $60 million of the $280 million in Medicaid funds toward exorbitant salaries, management fees and charitable donations to their family-controlled private foundations since 2003.  The owners also agreed to adopt a host of reforms to improve the quality of care at Medford including to hire an outside operator and a financial monitor to oversee the 320-bed facility for five years.

“Nothing is more important than securing the safety of those in nursing home facilities, yet, as alleged in our complaint, Medford owners continued to line their pockets with millions in public funding while Medford cut staffing, services and supervision, shirking the duty of caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens,” he added.

Medford is the home where a resident died in 2012 after the staff failed to connect the patient to a ventilator and ignored alarms that indicated the patient stopped breathing.  Aurelia Rios, 72, died Oct. 26, 2012, because seven employees failed to do their jobs, and two others attempted to hide the true cause of her death.

“Today we have taken significant steps to ensure residents at Medford receive necessary and proper care, and that the tragic events of 2012 are never repeated,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “This settlement sends a clear message that those who profit from Medicaid at the expense of nursing home residents will be held accountable.”

 

 

 

 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the verdict involving a nursing resident of Providence Care Center. Elma Betty Temple, 86, and her son brought suit four years ago against Providence Care Center, where Ms. Temple fell in November 2011 and suffered broken bones and other serious injuries, according to their claim. The suit said the home was negligent in not supervising her closely enough.

Last month, the jury compensated the resident and her family with a verdict of more than $2 million against the nursing home, and another $250,000 in punitive damages.

KRDO reported the record-setting verdict for the wrongful death and suffering of Sophia Alcon, a resident at Life Care Center of Pueblo. The unanimous jury awarded more than $5.5 million.  The jury awarded $500,000 in damages stemming from the wrongful death of Sophia Alcon, $57,066.43 in economic damages for negligence, and another $5 million in punitive damages for wrongful death.

Sophia, 77, was admitted to Life Care Center of Pueblo on April 30, 2013. While a resident there, she endured several instances of abuse and neglect. According to the family, she had multiple infections, bed sores, unexplained severe bruising covering half of her body, dehydration and malnutrition.  Most of Ms. Alcon’s 10 children were regular visitors at the nursing home, and attested to performing various nursing duties such as giving Ms. Alcon showers when nursing home staff refused to do so.

“She was our mother, she meant everything to us,” Alcon’s daughter Theresa Espinosa said.

The jury also recognized multiple surveys conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which cited Life Care Center of Pueblo for numerous regulatory violations similar to what was reported by Sophia’s family. The jury believed that the facility had serious problems with continuity of care and documentation. A juror further noted that the State of Colorado should be tougher on a facility like Life Care Center of Pueblo that has had repeated violations for the same deficiencies.

See additional information at KRDO.

The Press Democrat reported the million dollar settlement between national for-profit chain Emeritus and the family of Eleanor Buckingham.  Emeritus at Santa Rosa, since renamed Brookdale Fountaingrove, agreed to the payout in the 2013 wrongful death and elder neglect of Eleanor Buckingham.  She developed pressure ulcers while at the facility which were neglected causing infection, sepsis, and her eventual wrongful death.

Her family alleged nursing staff erred in treating a pressure ulcer that developed on her back, withholding proper care until it became infected. Her family alleged the nursing home cut corners by employing people without proper training. It also let profits dictate its treatment decisions, they said.  She died of sepsis after being taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, said attorneys Jeremy Fietz and Sandy Horowitz.

A Bay Area watchdog said the $1 million settlement is significant since damages for simple negligence are capped at $250,000 under state law.

A million dollars is a statement,” said Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. “It says, we did something wrong.”

The company agreed to waive the usual confidentiality clause — another acknowledgment of fault.

She said her group receives frequent complaints about corporate-owned nursing homes, including those operated by Seattle-based Emeritus and Brookdale.  “They are large, for-profit chains trying to provide healthcare,” she said. “I’m not sure they are capable of doing it.”

Emeritus charged patients about $100,000 a year to stay in the Fountaingrove Parkway facility.  Brookdale bought Emeritus Corporation in 2014 for a reported $1.4 billion in stock. The company owns at least three other facilities in Sonoma County.

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