McKnight’s reported on a recent appeal of an arbitration decision in favor of the nursing home resident.  I find it funny that the nursing home industry pushes for arbitration because it is “cheaper” “faster” and “will provide closure” but still appeals the arbitrator’s decision!

Villa Huntington Drive Healthcare Center neglected Patricia Porter’s avoidable pressure injury causing her wrongful death.  Her doctor had ordered a low-air mattress to help prevent and heal a severe pressure ulcer. The order was made on July 4, 2012 but the mattress did not arrive until July 12. Caregivers failed to alleviate the pressure by turning and repositioning Porter adequately, and left her sitting in a wheelchair for six hours, further worsening her injuries. She died in November 2012 from a septic sore and urinary infections.

After listening to all the relevant evidence introduced, the arbitrator awarded the resident and her family $1 million.  California’s  arbitration awards can be reviewed by a court in limited circumstances, but the California Court of Appeal, Second District, deemed that the case did not meet those requirements. That’s because AG Arcadia did not identify any unwaivable statutory rights that the $1 million award violated, Bloomberg reported.

An appeals court ruled that an arbitrator did not exceed her authority by awarding the patient damages in excess of the $250,000 cap contained in the state’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, Bloomberg Law reported.

According to court documents, the facility had argued that the arbitrator exceeded her powers by awarding non-economic damages in lump sums, rather than in proportion to each defendant’s percentage of fault. It also contended that the arbitrator failed to make any findings against parent company AG Arcadia and its facilities.

Huntington Drive Health also asserted that the arbitrator was prejudiced in the matter and did not grant the SNF added time to present testimony from treating nurses and its medical expert, according to court documents.

 

The Buffalo News reported the tragic and preventable death of Frank Williams.  Frank Williams died Dec. 21, 2016, from sepsis from pressure ulcers or bedsores he suffered at Safire Rehabilitation at Northtowns.  Williams didn’t have any skin breakdown or bedsores when he left Kenmore Mercy Hospital and entered the nursing home for rehabilitation after a stroke. Williams’ case illustrates how vulnerable individuals who go to poorly rated and understaffed nursing homes for rehabilitation can quickly succumb to preventable but lethal ailments like bedsores.

Four months later, when he returned to Kenmore Mercy, the retired ironworker had seven bedsores on the lower half of his body. He died 14 days later from sepsis – an extreme response to infection – according to his death certificate. Hospital records cite infections from bedsores as the most likely cause of the sepsis.

After he arrived, hospital records note, Kenmore Mercy staff discovered bedsores on the lower half of his body, including one with “foul smelling drainage” and greenish gray and black spots, along with dead tissue.

According to hospital medical records, there were bedsores on his lower back, right ankle, right and left heels and right big toe. There were two lesser wounds on his right pelvis and scrotum. 

“The sore on his right ankle looked like it was down to the bone,” Mark Williams said.

“They told me this is the worst case of bedsores they have ever seen from that nursing home,” his son, Mark F. Williams Sr., recalled doctors and nurses telling him in the emergency room. “The sores were black. I’d never seen that before. I was shocked. I thought it was the black plague.”

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, occur when a section of the body is pressing against a surface for too long and not repositioned to alleviate the pressure. Several other factors, such as nutrition, the surface on which the body is pressing and moisture also contribute to bedsores, according to experts in the prevention of  these injuries. Yet there is consensus among nursing homes and other health care providers that the vast majority of pressure injuries can be prevented.  In fact, the nationwide average for pressure ulcers is less than 5% in most facilities.

 

Willie Johnson suffers end-stage dementia and now lives in the Laurellwood Nursing Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.  His daughter, Tonya, has been his advocate for years but is troubled by the customs and practices at the nursing home.

“I’m so hurt, I’m so disappointed in that place,” Tonya said.  “In my dad’s room, they have a white sheet to the window as a cover, as a blind or as a curtain. It’s a white sheet,” Tonya stated.  On December 31, Tonya decided she’d seen enough when she spotted a large bed sore on her father’s backside. According to Tonya, her father didn’t have that bed sore when he arrived.

“I said, ‘Roll my dad over a little bit’ and that’s when I discovered (it.) I sort of stepped back, I said, ‘What is this?'” Tonya recalled. “And she said, ‘Oh, well, it’s a sore.’ And I’m like wow. I said, ‘Where’d this come from?'”  “I said, ‘Well how come nobody contacted me?’ She said, ‘Nobody ever called you?’ I said no,” Tonya said.

In addition, she was concerned about an ulcerated heel.

“I asked them to lift my daddy’s foot up. They lifted up in the air and I noticed my daddy’s foot under the bottom, like he’s got a hole and it’s spreading and it’s spreading,” she said.

In September, Laurellwood was issued 12 citations for health violations and 10 more for fire safety problems, according to Medicare’s website.

Tonya complained to the Department of Children and Families, Elder Abuse and Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration about her father’s treatment.  DCF confirmed it received a complaint from Tonya and stated it is investigating.

The Buffalo News reported the jury verdict in a nursing home neglect case.  Shirley Burrows needed follow-up treatment for three “superficial” bedsores when she was discharged from the hospital to Newfane Rehab & Health Care Center nursing home. Her wounds were on her sacrum and backside.  Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, are mostly preventable but occur when a section of the body is pressing against a surface for too long and not repositioned to alleviate the pressure. Medical protocol to prevent sores calls for repositioning at least every two hours. Instead of getting better, Burrows’ sores worsened, became infected, and a bone in Burrows’ lower back was exposed.

A jury compensated her with $1.25 million to the 72-year-old woman, after determining Newfane Rehab & Health Care Center was negligent in its care of her.

“She had gone to the nursing home for wound care treatment and they horribly neglected her,” said Brian R. Hogan, one Burrows’ attorneys at Brown Chiari law firm. “What makes this egregious is they knew she had sores and she was not seen by a doctor at the nursing home. It took two years of treatment at the wound clinic and she still has an open wound, but it is a lot smaller and her daughter is caring for her,” Hogan said.

The federal government rates Newfane Rehab as a two star, or “below average,” facility in its five-star rating system.

Of the verdict amount, the jury awarded $475,000 for past pain and suffering, $300,000 for future pain and suffering, and an additional $475,000 for violating a state public health law that requires special protections to nursing home residents, for the total of $1.25 million.

 

 

Glennie Hood’s children say she was loved not only by them, but also her community. They told stories of kids from the neighborhood visiting her home and calling her grandma. No one wanted to place her in a nursing home, but it became less and less of a choice as she began developing symptoms of dementia. They chose Essex of Tallmadge because they were nearby and seemed trustworthy. As they visited and toured the facility, they were made promises that Glennie would be in safe and loving hands. Of course, that was not the case.

Hood died after the Essex of Tallmadge nursing home allowed a blister on her foot to become infected and rot. Though it was a major concern, her family and other visitors were not allowed to see the deterioration of the wound while her caretakers often insisted that it was healing properly. Then, one day, when the smell of it was overwhelming, her son asked to see his mother’s foot unwrapped, and he finally saw the damage that had been done.

A doctor was brought over to look at the blister, which had by then turned the foot into an infected, rotting, and black mass of flesh.  The doctor said it was “too far gone.” Mohing could be done and she died from the injuries.

Those representing the facility say no correlation exists between the blister and the elderly woman’s death, but her family disagrees.

Stories like this break your heart because of the trust that was abused in the process. People loved Glennie Hood. She was important. She was human. It could have been any number of things at that nursing home that led to her injury and death, but none of those things should have happened in the first place. If the home and, more broadly, the industry truly cared about Glennie Hood’s humanity, they never would have caused her so much pain.

Newson6 reported on a resident’s family seeking answers in a lawsuit against Grace Living Center. Twila Knight was 57 when she checked in at Grace Living Center to recover from a fall.  At the facility, Twila suffered from falls, custodial neglect, and a pressure ulcer injury.  The family of a former resident is suing Grace Living Center claiming the staff failed to monitor, treat, diagnose and care for their loved one.

The center’s Medicare health inspection rating is one out of five stars.  The health inspection report shows the rating is the lowest possible score. And it’s rate of long-stay patients developing pressure ulcers is 12.6 percent more than double the national average.

Knight’s family is suing the nursing home for negligence claiming the staff also failed to properly treat bed sores she got in their care. The family is also claiming the staff was verbally abusive and failed to address her dietary needs, weight loss, and medication needs.

“There has to be special mattresses put in place, there has to be turning that’s done, you have to make sure that people are getting up,” said the family’s attorney Mark Edwards.

“We rely on these places to take care of our most fragile. And what’s happening is we have businesses that are putting profits over people,” said Edwards.

 

NJ.com reported the tragic case of Anna Burkhart who developed a large, painful and deadly bedsore while in the care of staff at Oradell Health Care Center.  Burkhart was accepted by Oradell after she suffered a fractured right hip on Oct. 30, 2015.  Oradell either failed to notice or ignored the bedsore as it developed and grew.

Burkhart was kept in a hospital bed in Oradell for 100 days – until her insurance ran out.  Then Oradell discharged the woman, the family brought her home and discovered she was suffering from the sore on her sacrum or lower back.

They rushed her to the hospital, where doctors determined the bedsore, called a Stage 4 decubitus ulcer, had festered for so long that Burkhart had developed fatal sepsis.

The suit alleges “reckless indifference and deliberate disregard” and contends the center violated the New Jersey Nursing Home Responsibility and Rights of Residents Act.

“There was inadequate staff supervision, understaffing and the intentional underutilization of critical services,” the lawsuit states.

The West Virginia Record reported the lawsuit filed against national for-profit chain SavaSeniorCare.  The case involves a resident of Huntington Health and Rehabilitation Center which is owned by SavaSeniorCare and operated by SavaSeniorCare Administrative Services LLC; and SavaSeniorCare Consulting LLC.

Maria Webber, as personal representative of the estate of Katherine Foley, filed a complaint against Seventeenth Street Associates LLC, doing business as Huntington Health and Rehabilitation Center; SavaSeniorCare Administrative Services LLC; and SavaSeniorCare Consulting LLC alleging negligence, wrongful death and other counts.

 According to the complaint, Foley was a resident from Sept. 3 to Sept. 24, 2016. The plaintiff alleges that during her short stay there, Foley suffered from avoidable pressure ulcers, infections and dehydration causing her wrongful death on on May 7, 2017.

The plaintiff contends that Defendants neglected Foley including failing to monitor Foley’s condition and failing to timely provide the services to prevent her ailments.

 

The Times News reported the lawsuit filed against White Oak Manor and White Oak Management for neglect of a wound after an amputation—larvae and maggots were growing in his body and he lost his remaining leg.

William Brooks was admitted to Burlington’s White Oak Manor on May 5, 2014, while recovering from an amputation below the right knee.  That July, after an infection sent him back to the hospital, Brooks had doctor’s orders for frequent cleaning and redressing a wound on his remaining foot. According to the suit, there was no record of that treatment being done in June or July of 2014.

A doctor was called in to evaluate Brooks when maggots were found in the wound on his left ankle. He was treated, but he ended having his left leg amputated below the knee.

The suit claims White Oak Manor and its staff were negligent in caring for Brooks, and he suffered physically, emotionally, financially and was disfigured because of it.

 

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.”