McKnight’s had an article on how Eskaton will “work through this” after a jury compensated the family of a former resident $42.5 million in punitive and compensatory damages for neglect that led to her death. The amount of punitive damages, $35 million, represents more than 10% of nonprofit operator Eskaton’s net worth.
Barbara Lovenstein moved into Eskaton FountainWood Lodge, an assisted living facility in 2012. The resident had an epilepsy diagnosis and had a prescription for the sedative lorazepam (Ativan) that was to be given only when she had “seizure-like activity,” the complaint said.
FountainWood staff members, however, began administering lorazepam to Lovenstein daily as a chemical restraint even after her primary care physician denied their request for a prescription for routine dosage. As a consequence, Lovenstein choked and was taken to a hospital emergency department, where it was determined that she had aspiration pneumonia, and died April 11, 2012.
The state Department of Social Services, after a 2012 investigation, concluded: “Primary care physician medication orders and communication were not followed.” The state also found that “resident medication [was] not given as prescribed.”
“The jury was presented with evidence that Eskaton engaged in this practice not just with Ms. Lovenstein but throughout the memory care unit of its facility because it was dangerously understaffed,” “Eskaton corporate officers were aware of the understaffing, lack of supervision and numerous other systemic failures at the facility but woefully failed to do anything about it.”