Patient Falls, Suffers Ecchymosis/Hematoma and Dies; Facility Settles

An 85-year-old woman with dementia was admitted to a Virginia Memory Care Center on November 7, 2013. At the time of admittance, the female patient did not need help with walking but required assistance with bathing and dressing. By March of 2014, the patient was noted by the facility of needing a wheelchair and assistance with walking. During this time there was no fall risk assessment completed by the caregivers at the facility. 

A physician’s note dated February 2, 2014, indicated that the elderly patient was comfort care only. However, there were no orders written for this and she continued to receive all medications. In April 2014, another physicians note stated that fall precautions needed to be taken for the patient and that she should be monitored by staff at all time. A hospitals records indicated that the memory care resident was admitted on April 18, 2014. The facility had no documentation of this fall. 

In June 2014, the elderly resident was found by staff on the floor beside her bed, with a laceration to her forehead. The rescue squad stated that the facility staff was unable to confirm if the patient had fallen or had lost consciousness. The emergency room doctor revealed a large ecchymosis and hematoma to the right forehead and periorbital area. The second fall also failed to be documented by the facility.

After consulting a neurosurgeon, she was not selected as a surgical candidate. The patient’s family decided to return their loved one to the memory care center for hospice care. She passed away on July 12, 2014. The facility’s physician listed the cause of death as dementia. 

As a result of the facilities negligence, the family contacted us to pursue claims against the memory care provider for failing to provide proper supervision and care to prevent her from falling and suffering injuries, leading to her death. We were able to obtain a fair settlement award for the patient’s family.