Patient Dropped, Sustains Fractures & Pressure Ulcer, Later Assaulted; Nursing Home Settles

An 88-year-old patient was known at all times relevant by the nursing home staff to be a high fall risk due to a history of falls, psychotropic drug use, decline in mental status, and a history of CVA with hemiparesis and contractures.  The patient was totally dependent on the nursing home’s staff for her activities of daily living and for mobility, including transfers, for which she required the assistance of two staff members and the use of a mechanical lift.  Due to the CVA, the patient was also minimally conversant and was entirely vulnerable to injuries from assault and abuse.

On or about August 3, 2010, the nursing home permitted the patient to fall to the floor during a transfer.  The patient was not provided the transfer supervision and support she required during that transfer and was dropped.  As a result, the patient sustained fractures of the right distal radius and the left tibia, for which she required pain medications, including Tramadol and Lortab.  Due to the cast she was required to wear on her leg, the patient developed one unstageable pressure ulcer to her left heel and two stage II pressure ulcers to her left malleolus.

On or about November 29, 2011, the nursing home permitted the patient to be assaulted by a member of the defendants’ staff.  As a result of the assault, Cunningham sustained swelling and bruising to both eyes and her nose, bilateral contusions to both eyelids, and a nasal fracture.  Bruising was also noted on Cunningham’s forehead, the top of both hands, the top of her right wrist, and her abdomen. 

The family contacted us to pursue claims against the nursing home for failing to provide proper fall prevention and treatment for injuries suffered from the fall, as well as the assault that was allowed to occur. As a result, we were able to obtain a settlement award for the patient’s family.