Jury Awards Verdict of $1 Million Against Southwest Virginia Nursing Home
Within two days of a patient's admission to the nursing home, she attempted to elope from the facility. The nursing home acknowledged the patient was at high risk for wandering and promised to make frequent visual checks on her to make sure she was safe. The next day, the patient was documented by the nursing home to wander into other residents’ rooms, and the nursing home warned its staff she needed to be “watched carefully." On the fourth day after her admission, the patient was permitted to elope (wander away without the knowledge of staff) from the facility. She was found a couple of hours later at the bottom of a hill near some train tracks, where she had fallen. The fall resulted in a comminuted fracture of her right wrist with “obvious deformity,” abrasions and contusions to the right shoulder, leg abrasions, and neck pain. She also had significant facial bruising. The patient was forced to endure a closed reduction of the right wrist fracture at a local hospital and continued to have significant pain for weeks thereafter.
Impairment caused by the right wrist fracture caused her to have significant problems. Before the fall, the patient could ambulate, eat, position, and toilet herself without assistance. After the fall, she required assistance in all of these areas. Her injuries also prevented her from drinking enough fluids without assistance, as she had done before the injury. Yet, the nursing home consistently failed to provide the patient with enough liquids to drink, resulting in dehydration, a urinary tract infection, and an eight-day hospitalization. The patient was transferred to another nursing home when she was released from the hospital and died two years later of unrelaed medical problems. The jury returned a verdict for $1 million on claims for the nursing home's negligence, fraud, and violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Tue, January 8, 2008
by Robert Carter