A claim filed against a nursing home over the death of a resident has resulted in a record $200 million verdict against the establishment. According to reporting in the Tampa Bay Times, a 92-year-old woman suffered a fall down a stairway in 2004 at the facility. The report says that the incident is believed to have occurred because a doorway that gives access to a stairwell was left open when an employee went out to have a cigarette.
This wasn’t the only incident when this particular nursing home was accused of being abusive and negligent. Employees had complained about staffing issues and witnesses had testified that the woman who died had suffered other falls at the nursing home. The woman suffered from dementia and was confined to a wheelchair.
This particular lawsuit was a wrongful death claim. It was filed by her son. The lawsuit included $140 million in punitive damages and $60 million in compensatory damages.
Nursing Home Negligence
In many cases, nursing home abuse targets the most vulnerable patients in the facility. Negligence, however, comes in many forms and so does abuse. While most people probably think of abuse as deliberately visiting violence or psychological abuse upon a patient, abuse can also take the form of simply neglecting to give a patient adequate care. Patients who have dementia, for instance, need to be monitored to make certain that they don’t wander off and put themselves in danger, as the woman in this lawsuit clearly did.
One of the problems with identifying nursing home abuse is sometimes implied by the complaints of the staff in this particular case. Understaffing create situations where the staff may not only be unaware of the fact that somebody is not receiving proper care, but when they also may not even be aware of the fact that a patient is in immediate danger. No matter how dedicated a nurse or a nurse’s aide happens to be, there is only so much they can do if they are overburdened with too many patients.
It’s important to remember that people in nursing home who are abused in any way, whether it is through neglect or outright abuse, oftentimes only have their families to rely upon to make the abuse come to an end. If you believe that your loved one was the victim of abuse in a nursing home facility, talking to an attorney who can help you file a lawsuit may be a wise course of action.