Saturday, December 26, 2009

Suit accuses nursing home of wrongful death

The executor of an estate for a former resident of Richmond Health and Rehabilitation is suing the home’s owners, alleging the resident received injuries there that led to his death.

Michael Cornett, executor of the estate of Jack Cornett, filed the suit Dec. 11 in Madison Circuit Court, accusing Fir Lane Terrace Convalescent Center Inc., doing business as Richmond Health and Rehabilitation Complex-Madison, Extendicare and three Richmond Health and Rehabilitation administrators — Tina McCaulley, Cindy Simpson and Robert Kirk, of providing negligent care that “accelerated the deterioration of Cornett’s health and physical condition beyond that caused by the normal aging process.”

The suit, filed on the one-year anniversary of Jack Cornett’s death, claims he was a resident at the home from early 2008 until he died on Dec. 11, 2008, in St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington. It alleges he suffered various injuries, including pressure sores, dehydration, compromised nutrition, weight loss, poor hygiene, infections, unexplained bruising, multiple falls, unnecessary physical pain, mental suffering and accelerated death.

“Jack Cornett also suffered unnecessary loss of personal dignity, pain and suffering, degradation, emotional distress and hospitalizations, all of which were caused by the negligent and wrongful conduct of the Defendants ... ,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Michael Cornett claims that Extendicare did not maintain adequate staffing at Richmond Health and Rehabilitation, negligently failing to deliver care, services and supervision.

It also alleges that Extendicare did not “develop, implement and follow policies to assist Jack Cornett in attaining and maintaining the highest level of physical, mental and psychological well-being,” failed to maintain Jack Cornett’s records “in accordance with accepted professional standards,” did not provide proper supervision, treatment and assessment to prevent falls and did not provide the resident with enough fluids to prevent dehydration.

The suit says Jack Cornett did not receive adequate sanitary care, medications, repositioning, turning and skin care to prevent the formation of pressure ulcers. Extendicare also is accused of not providing wound care, failing to make an adequate assessment of his nutritional needs, failing to prevent medication errors and a number of other similar claims.

Extendicare did not provide a sufficient number of qualified personnel to meet the resident’s needs, the lawsuit alleges.

“It was foreseeable,” the lawsuit claims, “that the breaches of care listed ... would result in serious injuries and the accelerated death of Jack Cornett.”

“ ... Extendicare Defendants acted with oppression, fraud, malice or were grossly negligent by acting with wanton or reckless disregard for the health and safety of Jack Cornett,” the suit reads.

The suit claims the conduct of the defendants was a “substantial factor in causing” the resident’s death, and asks for a jury trial. The plaintiff asserts a claim for judgment for all compensatory and punitive damages, including medical and funeral expenses and other administrative costs, pain and suffering, the grief suffered by beneficiaries, mental anguish, loss of spousal consortium and loss of life in an amount to be determined by the jury, as well as costs, interest and attorney’s fees.