Wrong Insulin Dose, Other Neglect Results In $1.05 Million Nursing Home Verdict
By Gregory Froom

The estate of a diabetic woman whose blood sugar plummeted after she was injected with another patient’s insulin has won a $1.05 million verdict against the Upstate nursing home where she resided.

The estate claimed that the 85-year-old patient suffered increased dementia after an incorrect insulin dose administered by nursing home staff sent her into hypoglycemic shock, or extremely low blood sugar.

A Spartanburg County jury ordered the facility, White Oak Manor, to pay the woman’s estate $50,000 in actual damages and $1 million in punitives. The verdict was handed down in November.

The case is Clark v. White Oak Manor, Court of Common Pleas No. 04-CP-42-1932. Judge J. Derham Cole presided at trial.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Gary W. Poliakoff of Spartanburg, said the jury’s finding that White Oak Manor was reckless in its treatment of the patient made the punitive award permissible.

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Estate Settles Nursing Home Neglect Claim Over Dehydration
Plaintiffs Claimed Facility Failed To Address Fluid Intake, Urinary Infection
$300,000 Mediated Settlement

Principal injuries (in order of severity): Dehydration, malnutrition and UTI causing death.

County where tried or settled: York

Case Name and Number: Barley et al. v. White Oak Manor – York, Inc. et al., York County Court of Common Pleas Case No. 2004-CP-46-987 & -988.

Date Concluded: July 13, 2005

Name of Judge: Hon. John C. Hayes, III

Amount: $300,000.

Attorneys for plaintiff: Anthony L. Harbin and John P. Griffith of Anderson

Other Useful Info: The decedent was admitted to the defendants’ nursing home in June 2000 with multiple health problems and chronic conditions. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were aware of his high risk for dehydration. The decedent also lost a significant amount of weight during his stay in the nursing home, according to the plaintiffs’ case report. In June 2001, decedent began to experience greater weight loss and poor oral intake. This increased his risk factor for dehydration, but the defendants failed to care plan and implement interventions to monitor him more closely to prevent dehydration from occurring, according to the plaintiffs. Defendants failed to ensure that decedent was receiving at least the minimum amount of fluid intake to prevent dehydration and failed to treat his UTI causing his death, the plaintiffs alleged. The decedent was ultimately admitted to the hospital for dehydration and a urinary tract infection and he died two days later. The hospital records stated that decedent was "clinically dry." The decedent was survived by his wife, one minor child and one adult child.

The defendants settled without admitting any liability, according to the settlement order.

Weighing The ‘Family Factor’ In Nursing Home Neglect Cases
By Michael Dayton

Before heading to trial with a nursing home neglect action, Spartanburg attorney Gary W. Poliakoff offers this advice: think about the family.

"The family factor is more unique to nursing homes than other kinds of cases," Poliakoff told Lawyers Weekly. "A loving family can overcome a marginal liability situation. And a family that showed no care or concern can damage the strongest compelling case of liability."

Poliakoff, who reported a $1.05 million nursing home verdict to Lawyers Weekly in January (see Jan. 9, 2006 Lawyers Weekly), said the jury’s potential view of the family can tip the scale in favor of trial or settlement.

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