February 27, 2014

Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner/Operations
305-670-1101 Ext. 1023



Nursing Home Negligence and Wrongful Death


Robin Khanal

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) attorney Robin N. Khanal(Orlando) obtained a verdict for the defense in a nursing home trial involving a Stage IV decubitus ulcer and death.
The nursing home resident was living independently at home when she fell in her garage and fractured her left hip in July 2010.  She was transferred to the hospital where she underwent a hemiarthroplasty procedure.  Six days later she was transferred to the defendant nursing home.  The discharge skin assessment noted no areas of skin breakdown on her body.
Although the nursing home staff noted a small area of redness to the coccyx upon admission, there was no mention of staff turning and repositioning the resident throughout the entire residency.  The treatment record showed several missed applications of barrier ointment that was supposed to be applied to the coccyx every shift.  The ADL flow sheets also indicated assistance was given on a day the resident was no longer in the facility, calling into question the accuracy of the nursing homerecords as a whole.
After a week at the defendant nursing home, the resident was transferred to another nursing home as requested by the family.  Upon admission to the second nursing home, the coccyx was an open, Stage III pressure sore.  Within a week, the wound showed excessive necrotic tissue and required debridement.  Within two weeks, the resident was placed on hospice care at home.  There, the wound eventually deteriorated to a Stage IV ulcer. The resident passed away in November 2011, leaving behind two adult children.
At trial, the estate claimed that the resident presented to the defendant nursing home without any pressure sores and, as a result of several missed wound treatments and a lack of turning and repositioning, left the facility with a Stage III pressure sore that ultimately deteriorated to a Stage IV.  The estate supported these claims with both a nursing and medical expert.  The medical expert testified that once the wound opened at the defendant nursing home, there was nothing that could be done to reverse its progression given the resident’s underlying conditions.  The daughters also testified they personally observed an open wound at the nursing home, which smelled infected.  They also testified to seeing their mother repeatedly left in soiled briefs throughout her residency.
The defense team was comprised of a nursing and medical expert.  The overall defense theme was that staff followed the doctor’s treatment orders and the standard of care does not require a turning and repositioning monitoring tool.  The defense also presented evidence that the wound opened during transfer to the second nursing home.
Upon motion by the defense, the estate was forced to abandon its wrongful death claim and request survival damages only.  The jury deliberated for over six hours before rendering a defense verdict.

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