Jury Awards $2M in Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

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A $2 million verdict over the death of an elderly woman at a nursing home was affirmed by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. The nursing home abuse lawsuit alleged that Elise Dubose died in 2007, a mere two years after becoming a resident at Willowcrest Nursing Home. Her son who initiated the lawsuit against the nursing home provider, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, said that his mother had suffered and ultimately died from abuse and neglect at the hands of staff. The alleged nursing home abuse included:

  • Bedsores
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Bone infection
  • Sepsis
  • Organ failure

After his mother’s death, the son launched a nursing home abuse lawsuit against the healthcare provider alleging medical negligence and wrongful death. After the lawsuit, the jury came back with a $2 million verdict against the nursing home, including $1 million for a survival claim, $125,000 on a wrongful death claim, and $875,000 in punitive damages.

nursing-home-neglect-rulesThe Albert Einstein Healthcare Network attempted to escape a verdict, arguing the statute of limitations had run on claims based on the suffering of Ms. Dubose before her death.

However, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the verdict finding that the limitation runs based on the time of death in medical negligence cases under state law.

“In his Superior Court brief, Mr. Dubose emphasized that Mrs. Dubose was under constant care at from August 2005 through October 2007, during which time she developed ten pressure ulcers and other conditions, such as dehydration,” noted the Court’s order. “The cause of Mrs. Dubose’s death was sepsis combined with the ten pressure wounds. Thus, Mr. Dubose contended that there were new, additional injuries to Mrs. Dubose continuously until the date of her death.”

Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits

Approximately 1.6 million elderly and disabled people are currently living in nursing homes. Unfortunately, these are some of most vulnerable members of society, susceptible to abuse and neglect in the facilities that are supposed to care for them. Additionally, those in nursing homes are often unable to communicate if they are suffering from abuse or neglect.

Some of the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect include:

  • Injuries from preventable falls
  • Lack of hygiene or sanitation
  • Inadequate nutrition or hydration
  • Inadequate medical care

Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect is rampant across the country – a recent report by a Congressional agency cited 9,000 instances over two years. Facilities blame a lack of resources and skilled workers for nursing home neglect; however, families often sacrifice and pay steep fees to keep family members in a nursing home they believe will provide comfort and care.

The Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit is DuBose v. Quinlan, et al., Case No. 21 EAP 2016, in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

If you are concerned that your loved one may be experiencing nursing home neglect, contact an experienced attorney at McDonald Worley to help evaluate your claim.