Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Care facility sued after woman jumps out window

Dementia patient Merle Fall died after jumping out the second-floor window of a Ridgeland nursing home.
The state Department of Health cited the Ridgeland Pointe Senior Living Community following Fall's death in March, requiring the facility to move its Memory Care Unit to the first floor.
But when an investigation by the attorney general's office found no criminal violation under the Vulnerable Adults Act, Fall's family filed a lawsuit against Ridgeland Assisted Living LLC and Emeritus Corp. The complaint, filed in Madison County Circuit Court, accuses the companies of neglect and seeks at least $500,000 in damages, plus attorney fees.
The companies deny the allegations and say the family has failed to prove Fall was "harmed due to defendants' negligent or reckless conduct."
Fall's daughter, Diane Phillips, said she had decided to bring her 83-year-old mother, suffering from advanced dementia, to a nursing home after she wandered away one day. "I always said the first time she left home, we'd have to put her in a safe place," Phillips said. "We didn't want her to get hurt."
She admitted her mother Feb. 25. "It was a lockdown unit where they assured us she would be safe," Phillips said.
Several days later, she and her husband visited. According to the lawsuit, she found her mother smelling like urine and dressed in the same clothes she had been wearing when admitted.
Ridgeland Pointe officials deny this claim, saying such allegations are inconsistent with their investigation as well as the attorney general's investigation.
While there, she said a nurse pointed to a chair and mentioned her mother had tried to go out the window. Phillips said her husband checked the window and noticed it was unlocked - something nursing home personnel promised to fix.
The evening before March 6, Fall had been seen wandering the hall, going in and out of various residents' rooms, Kizzy Blount, a resident on duty, told investigators from the attorney general's office. She said Fall was later seen trying to open the locks on her window about 2 a.m.

Care facility sued after woman jumps out window | clarionledger.com | The Clarion-Ledger

Nursing Home Closing

A southern Illinois nursing home will surrender its license and close its doors after the state says the home failed to comply with safety regulations.

The Orchard Court Nursing Home in Jonesboro houses 15 residents.
The facility will surrender its license and close within 90 days.
Orchard Court has also agreed to pay a $12,000 fine.
The settlement was reached Monday.

In a document more than 50 pages long, the Department of Public Health gives numerous examples of the facility failing to protect residents from violent attacks.

"When you see a pattern of behavior, when you see these continued abuse or neglect type situations we look at that pattern and if we find they are not able to comply with the statute we then move towards license revocation," says Melaney Arnold with IDPH.

Most of the incidents stem from an 18 year old resident with profound mental retardation.
Numerous times he injured and even hospitalized other residents.
One report describes the beating of a 62 year old blind resident who was treated for lacerations to his head.

Officials say this is abuse.
Each long term care facility is responsible to develop an appropriate care plan for each resident.

"Whether that be means they need to be in a single room, whether that be means they need one-on-one supervision," says Arnold.

IDPH says the facility had been in trouble for some time. Orchard Court was already operating under a type A license, which means during inspection they were found to have some of the most serious violations.

"License revocation is not very common and for this to happen we definitely felt there were issues with continued care and operation with this facility," says Arnold.

In fact, Orchard Court is only one of seven long term care facilities up for license revocation in the state.
The facility could have appealed the citation but surrendered that right. In a statement they said money is the issue.

"Orchard Court is operated by a small not for profit company that cannot afford a protracted legal fight with the government" they say.

The facility also admits no wrongdoing and disagrees with the state's actions.

The residents will soon be moved to other nursing homes.

Orchard Court says they were trying to care for the more severely disabled residents who have been turned away from other state-run facilities.
They say a lack of adequate funding was also an issue.
They claim the state still owes them 6 months worth of pay.

WSIL TV • Nursing Home Closing

Houser being sued again for alleged nursing home neglect

George Houser, who already lost one costly lawsuit over poor care at one of his nursing homes, is now facing another challenge in court.

A Rome woman is claiming her husband was neglected during his five-week stay, and the lack of care led to his eventual death.

Elaine Siegel is being represented by Mike Prieto of Perrotta, Cahn and Prieto, P.C., the same law firm that represented Loretta Terhune, a woman who sued Houser after her father died in one of Houser’s facilities six months after entering it. Houser was ordered to pay the daughter $37 million.

Also named as defendants are Subacute Services Inc., SAS — Mount Berry Inc. and Mount Berry Convalescent Center LLC.

In the lawsuit filed Thursday evening in Floyd County Superior Court, Siegel claims that her husband, Solomon Siegel Jr., entered Summit Health and Rehabilitation Center on Three Mile Road in Rome on Oct. 3, 2008, for rehabilitation for a stroke. He was 79 at the time and had a history of stroke and diabetes, among other medical conditions, the lawsuit stated.

Prieto contends that Houser was still acting as part owner when Solomon Siegel died.

In 2007, the three nursing homes operated under Houser’s Forum Medical Group name closed, including what was then called Mount Berry Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Three Mile Road.

The closings came after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed the Forum Medical Group that it would no longer pay for care unless drastic improvements were made.

The Three Mile Road site later reopened as Summit Health and Rehabilitation Center.

The lawsuit contends the patient developed multiple ulcers that went untreated and became infected.

On Nov. 7, 2008, Solomon Siegel was taken to the emergency room with an elevated white blood cell count, according to the lawsuit. Nine days later he died.

Siegel is asking for punitive damages and liability.

Houser and his wife, Rhonda Houser, are both facing federal criminal charges after being accused of defrauding Medicaid and Medicare out of $30 million.

He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing in federal court in Rome on Tuesday.

Siegel contends that the nursing home staff failed “in numerous ways to provide the care, treatment and series that her husband needed in a skilful and non-negligent manner.”

She specifies that the nursing home failed to follow federal and state requirements for a long-term care facility and did not follow standard medical and nursing practices.

Read more: RN-T.com - Houser being sued again for alleged nursing home neglect

RN-T.com - Houser being sued again for alleged nursing home neglect

Huge Verdict Shakes Nursing Homes

SAN FRANCISCO -- During Cindy Cool's almost daily visits to the nursing home, she would routinely find her Alzheimer's-suffering father wearing urine-soaked clothes.

The Blue Lake resident said it would take upwards of 20 minutes for the apparently short-handed staff of Eureka Healthcare and Rehabilitation to respond and help Cool clean her father. Other patients fared worse, she said.

"A lot of times I walked out of there crying because of the things I saw," Cool said in an interview.

She provided key testimony before a Humboldt County jury last month slammed the owners of her father's nursing home with a $677 million verdict, sending shock waves through the industry and rekindling calls for tort reform.

The verdict as it stands is already thought to be the largest in the country this year and its ramifications are still being sorted out weeks after the jury surprised even the plaintiffs' lawyers with the size of their verdict. Tort reformers have seized on the verdict as the latest example of litigation abuse.

The company's stock price has plunged on fears it will have to file bankruptcy. Cool, 58, was part of a class-action lawsuit representing 32,000 patients that blamed the nursing home staff shortage for the misery she encountered -- echoing a common complaint across the country that for-profit nursing homes are too concerned with the bottom line.

After Wall Street investment firms went on a nursing home buying spree during the early years of the new century, critics charge that many companies drastically cut payroll expenses to prop up stock prices.

"The major problem for most nursing homes in California and in the nation is staffing," said Pat McGinnis, executive director and founder of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform.

Many of the 16,100 homes nationwide are owned by public companies. The home where Cool's father lived and died in 2006 is owned by Skilled Healthcare Group Inc., which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

On July 6, the Humboldt County jury found that Skilled Healthcare on numerous occasions violated state regulations requiring it to keep a minimum number of nurses on duty at its 22 homes in the state.

James Gomez, president and chief executive of the California Association of Health Facilities, called the verdict "outlandish, excessive and extreme" and said a "good provider of skilled nursing care" is likely bound for bankruptcy if the verdict holds up, threatening the livelihoods of 14,000 California workers.

The lawsuit accused Orange County-based Skilled Healthcare of failing to maintain 3.2 nursing hours per patient per day at its 22 nursing homes in California. The company is just the 10th largest, based on beds, in an industry that struggles to keep workers.

"The verdict is a statement that facilities must follow the law and meet minimum standards," McGinnis said.

McGinnis said the 3.2 nursing hours required by California should be an easy standard to meet because it's nearly a full hour less than the federal recommendation of 4.1 nursing hours per patient.

"The fact that this company couldn't maintain these minimum standards makes you wonder why it was in the nursing home business to begin with," McGinnis said.

Skilled Healthcare Chairman and CEO Boyd Hendrickson said in a statement immediately after the verdict that the company is "deeply disappointed" in the verdict and believes its nursing homes are appropriately staffed.

"We strongly disagree with the outcome of this legal matter, and we intend to vigorously challenge it," he said.

The company's options, however, appear to be shrinking.

On Thursday, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson shot down one of the company's challenges when he denied its demand for a mistrial based on juror misconduct.

Meanwhile, the company's ability to appeal is in question.

Typically, parties challenging a trial court decision are required to post 150% of the verdict as a bond. The company doesn't have the cash or credit to post the $1 billion-plus bond. It also likely faces bankruptcy if the jury's verdict stands up.

Both sides are currently in settlement negotiations, and legal analysts said there's a good chance that the sizable verdict will be reduced.

That is what happened in another high-profile nursing home verdict won in 1998 by Michael Thamer, who is now lead lawyer in the Skilled Healthcare lawsuit.

A Siskiyou County Superior Court jury awarded his client Reba Gregory $95 million after a nursing home attendant dropped her during a bed transfer, fracturing her hip and shoulder. Thamer convinced the jury that two attendants should have attempted the transfer and that Gregory's injuries were the result of staff shortages.

A judge later reduced the $95 million verdict to $3.1 million.

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/08/28/2057712/huge-verdict-shakes-calif-nursing.html#ixzz149hyX5Ok

Abuse in Texas Nursing Home

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas —The family of a former Texas legislator says he was abused while being treated in a local nursing home.

Donald Brown was a state representative from Galveston County in the 1960s.

As an attorney, Brown sought justice for over 33 years. In the 1980s, he was one of the lawyers who helped clear Clarence Brandley, who was wrongly convicted of rape and murder and spent nine years on death row before he was exonerated.

But Donald Brown’s daughter says what happened to her father at the end of his life was a crime and now he needs justice.

Brown died just days after leaving Willis Nursing and Rehabilitation in Montgomery County. Pictures taken of Brown after he spent two weeks at the facility shows he had horrible bed sores.

His daughter also claims he was over medicated.

"After about the first week there, he was so drugged when I or anyone else visited him, that we couldn’t wake him up," said Celia Brown.

Her father, who was 79 and in poor health, went to the Willis nursing home on August 19 to recover from hip surgery. He was rushed back to a hospital in Conroe on September 3 in respiratory distress and died three days later.

"With proper care he could have been rehabilitated and be alive, either in the nursing home or in a private care setting," said Brown.

Brown, believing her father was abused and neglected at the nursing home, filed a complaint with the Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Texas agency that inspects nursing homes. She also filed a criminal complaint with the Willis Police Department.

Accusations of neglect at nursing homes are not unusual. However, when nursing homes are investigated, the chances of anything happening to the facilities are slim.

In 2009, the Department of Aging and Disability Services investigated 16,000 complaints in the state’s 1,100 nursing homes. Out of all the investigations, the agency revoked one license and handed out 37 administrative penalties. Not one facility was suspended.

11 News also sifted through hundreds of pages of reports, detailing accusations made against Willis Nursing and Rehab. In the past five years, 45 people made more than 100 allegations of everything from neglect and abuse, to lack of care. Of those allegations, 11 News found three instances where the nursing home was cited for a violation.

"It’s actually very rare for us to take that severe an enforcement action," said Cecilia Federov, a spokesperson for the Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Federov said shutting down or closing a facility is rare because, when the agency finds problems, the nursing homes are given a chance to make improvements.

Federov said she would not agree that the nursing homes are given a lot of leeway during investigations.

"We have to keep in mind that moving a resident, forcing a resident to move into a different facility or closing a facility, so that there are fewer facilities in the state, that is very traumatic for the population we are serving," she said.

Federov said rigorous, unannounced inspections of nursing homes, like the one in Willis, are done once a year. She said the agency investigates every complaint.

11 News obtained a copy of the nursing homes skin evaluation sheet on Donald Brown. The evaluations showed he had four bed sores when he was admitted on August 19, all in the early stages. One of the sores was on his hip, two were near his tail bone, and another one was on his right heel.

That day the nurse indicated his heel was a stage-one bed sore, meaning the skin was intact.

But a picture of Brown’s heel the day he left the facility two weeks later showed the skin was gone. The pictures of Brown’s sores near his tail bone were equally as gruesome.

When shown the pictures by 11 News, Federov agreed they were disturbing.

"You know this is horrible, this wound is horrible, we would not say this is not a very tragic condition," she said.

Two weeks after 11 News’ interview with Federov, the state completed its investigation of Donald Brown’s case. The agency found that Willis Rehabilitation and Nursing had not broken any rules. The charge of over medicating was found to be unsubstantiated, as were the charges of neglect and failure to prevent bed sores.

A nurse said in the report that Brown’s right heel, the one that lost all the skin, "went bad very quickly." She also said Brown refused to turn and would rub his heel on the bed.

Brown’s daughter, Celia, was upset with the findings of the investigation.

"Wow, they are really under qualified to investigate, or choose not to see the truth in front of them," she wrote in an email to 11 News.

Valerie Chartier, an administrator of Willing Nursing and Rehabilitation, said she thinks the report spoke for itself.

"We remain committed to providing the finest care for our patients," she said in a written statement.

But when that care falls short, is the state doing enough to protect people’s loved ones? Celia Brown doesn’t think so. Her father once served the state of Texas. In return, she believes the state failed him.


Suit Alleging Neglect Filed

GALVESTON - Clay and Ricky Kilgore have filed a $5.5 million lawsuit against Dr. Firoozeh Saheb Kar, Baywind Village and Enterprise Ambulance for the death of Jeanie Kilgore.

The estate of Jeanie Kilgore argues that Kar knowingly and intentionally violated the doctor-patient trust when the physician discharged the woman without providing alternative medical care. The suit filed Sept. 30 in Galveston County District Court also alleges Baywind Village and Enterprise Ambulance deliberately assisted with the discharge.

Jeanie Kilgore died at Clear Lake Regional Hospital on Oct. 5, 2008.

The Kilgores placed Jeannie Kilgore in Baywind Village on Sept. 16, 2008. At the time, she was suffering from dementia and Parkinson's Disease, which greatly incapacitated her, according to the original complaint.

Court papers state that Kar discharged Jeannie Kilgore two weeks later even though her condition necessitated constant supervision by a qualified person. The suit claims Kar instructed Baywind Village and Enterprise Ambulance to transfer her to a facility in League City without her permission.

Her survivors allege there was no one at the home to care for her, especially when Jeannie Kilgore aspirated vomit on Oct. 2, 2008.

The suit says an employee found her struggling to breathe on the floor. She was rushed to Clear Lake Regional Hospital where she remained in a coma until her death three days later.