June 23, 2014

West Virginia Nursing Home Jury Award Reduced by $65 Million

by Levin & Perconti

In a previous blog post, we discussed a 2011 jury verdict that awarded approximately $92 million to the family of a patient who suffered abuse during a 3 week term at a West Virginia nursing home called Heartland Nursing Home, which is owned by a corporation called Manor Care. A relatively small amount of the jury award accounted for ordinary negligence in the nursing home’s actual poor medical care and negligence in failing to adequately feed and hydrate the patient. A whopping $80 million of that award accounted for punitive damages. An obstacle to enforcement of the jury award was found in West Virginia’s professional liability laws that limit non-economic damages (i.e. punitive damages, as opposed to more easily quantifiable medical costs), to $500,000, which was obviously well below the award given by the jury. When we last discussed this case, it had crept its way to the state Supreme Court to determine the issue of whether or not the verdict was appropriate under the half million dollar cap for professional liability. To date that question has not yet been answered while other in-state nursing home negligence claims lay dormant awaiting a ruling before proceeding to their own jury awards.

Continue reading "West Virginia Nursing Home Jury Award Reduced by $65 Million" »

December 12, 2013

Negligent Caregiving at Hospital Results in $6 Million Levin & Perconti Settlement

by Levin & Perconti

The line between the type of care provided at a nursing home and the care provided at a hospital is sometimes not easy to distinguish. The traditional long-term care unit is a “skilled nursing” facility, meaning that more medical care is provided than at mere assisted living facility but less skilled care than at an actual hospital. As a result, nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuits can involve general caregiving lapses (like allowing a senior to fall) or actual medical errors (like not providing certain treatment in a timely fashion).

Importantly, even lawsuits against hospitals can take both forms, either problems with the medical treatment itself or with basic caregiving and monitoring of patients. For example, our team of neglect lawyers recently settled a case on behalf of a client against Rush Medical Center following failure to monitor a patient after a CT scan was performed

Chicago Malpractice Lawsuit
This particular case was filed on behalf of a daughter after her mother’s passing. A few years ago, the mother was rushed to the hospital after exhibiting a range of symptoms, including vomiting, shortness of breath, and a racing heart. Together, the medical staff identified her for possible congestive heart failure.

In order to reach an accurate diagnosis, the doctor ordered a CT scan to be performed. When the test was complete, the CT technician left the mother in the hallway alone. This was a mistake, because the CT test involved using a contrasting dye. This dye can harm some patients, and so medical professionals should know that patients need to be monitored in the aftermath of a CT test where the dye was use. This monitoring is to ensure that quick care can be provided in the event of an adverse reaction. Considering that most patients are already vulnerable because of some injury or illness, the risk of severe consequences for neglect in these cases are high.

Unfortunately, protocol was breached by allowing the patient to go into a locked bathroom alone. While inside, she suffered a reaction to the dye. Because the door was locked and no key was available, medical support could not reach her for an extended period of time. When the door was finally opened the damage had already been done. The reaction combined with her existing heart problems led to respiratory distress. The mother suffered a permanent brain injury as a result of oxygen deprivation from not breathing while trapped in the bathroom.

In the aftermath of the mother’s passing a few years later--having never recovered from the brain injury--a malpractice lawsuit was filed. Our team worked on the daughter’s behalf to ensure full accountability was provided. Fortunately, a settlement was reached in the amount of $6 million.

These types of care lapses, wherever they occur, are never acceptable. Feel free to contact our neglect lawyers if you or someone you know was harmed by similar errors.

See Other Blog Posts:

Roe’s Right Is Not a Trial Right

The Truth Behind Hospital Associated Infections

January 7, 2013

Levin & Perconti Chicago Nursing Home Settlement

by Levin & Perconti

Recently our team of Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys settled another lawsuit for a local family after her death stemming from pressure sore complications. For those who follow this blog, it does not take long to identify how common pressure sore development is in nursing home lawsuits. Considering that many seniors at these homes have mobility problems and rely on caregiving for movement, nutrition, and hydration, failure to provide adequate support quite frequently causes bed sores. Constant pressure on bony prominences without movement, poor nutrition, and inadequate hydration all combine to create these sores.

Illinois Nursing Home Neglect
The resident in our latest settlement began her ordeal when she entered a Chicago hospital following a stroke. After the immediate critical care was provided--which lasted about 2 weeks--she was transferred to the defendant-facility for rehabilitation. This is common procedure, as many local residents end up in nursing homes only for what is supposed to be temporary recovery. Sadly, for many of them the stays become permanent.

In this resident’s case, upon her admission she was identified as being a pressure sore risk. Even though steps should have been put in place to ensure she did not develop the sores, that did not stop caregivers from failing to act properly and allowing her to develop several bed sores in areas where they frequently arise, the sacrum and heels.

In a testament to the quality of care the woman was receiving--or lack thereof--the nursing staff was never the one’s who identified the sores. Instead, the resident only received appropriate wound care when the family saw the sores and demanded something be done. This is another common theme in these cases. Many families with which we work are shocked to discover problems with their loved ones during nursing home visits. Instead of caregivers checking for problems and identifying issues, it is left up to families to point out the obvious and press for decent care.

Unfortunately, the complications from the woman’s bed sores worsened and she was sent back to the hospital. At the hospital her condition did not improve and she was diagnosed with sepsis, pneumonia, and dehydration. Sadly, only about three month after the initial hospitalization the woman passed away from her injuries.

Nursing Home Lawsuit
Understandable angry about the care their loved one received at the nursing home, the woman’s family sought out legal counsel to determine if the facility could be held accountable for their role in the incident. After reviewing the evidence related to the matter, our team filed suit on the resident and family’s behalf. In particular the lawsuit alleged that the facility caregiver failed to act properly to both prevent the sores and identify them when they did develop. These dual problems acted as a poison pill for the already weakened senior resident who lost her life as a result.

Fortunately, we were able to negotiate a settlement to ensure compensation and redress. The defendant-facility agreed to pay $575,000 for their role in the situation. The agreement was reached in late November and approved by the probate court just after Christmas.

See Our Other Blog Posts:

Levin & Perconti Reach Settlement Following Pressure Sore Development

Nursing Home Lawsuit Settled by Levin & Perconti

January 5, 2013

Levin & Perconti Reach Million Dollar Settlement Following Nursing Home Pressure Sore Development

by Levin & Perconti

Bed sores are “the” prototypical nursing home injury caused by neglect. Also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, these sores pop up on far too many residents after they enter a nursing home. The consequences of the injury are severe, and on many occasions they contribute to an elderly resident’s death. Yet, no matter how well-known the risks and how extensive the prevention options, time and again nursing home caregivers fails to act properly to prevent and treat these sores.

Because of our decades of experience on nursing home neglect cases, we have a team of Chicago pressure sore attorneys who are very familiar with the injury, how it develops, and how it could have been prevented. We are proud to work with many families whose loved ones have suffered serious harm (or died) as a result of caregivers poor actions related to bed sores.

Illinois Pressure Sore Lawsuit
For example, our team recently reached a settlement in a pressure sore case in Illinois. An 88-year old man entered the defendant-facility in late June of 2007. At that time he had a serious pressure that had developed on his sacral area. Obviously because he had the sore at the time of his admission, the facility cannot be faulted for its existence. However, they knew of the pressure sore and so they were obligated to properly treat it so that it did not worsen. In addition, knowing the resident’s risk, they were required to prevent the developed of other bed sores.

Even though that seems like a straightforward caregiving plan, the facility in this case failed. In fact, less than three months later, the man was transported to the hospital because of medical complications. At that time it was discovered that the initial sore had not been handled properly, allowed to grow even larger in size and severe in effect. In fact, the hospitalization itself was caused by the harm from the ulcer. But it didn’t end there. In his short time at the facility the man had also developed three other bed sores, including a severe stage IV ulcer on his left hip. Several of those wounds were ultimately infected, and the treatment needed to deal with the sores was extensive. He had debridements, wound vac therapy, and at-home care after multiple hospitalizations.

Eventually the man’s family reached out to our pressure sore lawyers to investigate the matter. A lawsuit was filed alleging that the facility violated care standards when they failed to properly treat the initial sore and prevent the development of other sores. Last month a settlement order was entered in the case in the amount of $1 million. The settlement ensures the family was able to hold the facility responsible for their poor care and are spared the need to go through a lengthy trial process.

If you suspect that a loved one may have suffered in similar ways, please take a moment to call our office. There is nothing to lose by visiting with an attorney to learn how pressure sores injuries are often a consequences of nursing home neglect.

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The Year of Elder Abuse Prevention

Protecting Senior Pocketbooks

January 2, 2013

Levin & Perconti Settle Nursing Home Lawsuit Against Berkshire Nursing & Rehab

by Levin & Perconti

Our attorneys are proud to work with residents in Chicago and throughout Illinois after poor nursing home care leads to injury. In most cases the process is initiated by the family of the resident. Sadly, families often only learn of problematic care after an incident which causes harm--a nursing home fall, the development of pressure sores, an attack by another resident, or similar accident. When that happens the legal system usually allows the family to recover compensation for the harm irrespective of possible state and federal sanctions for any care violations.

When helping families with these matters, the final resolution in our cases is often a settlement. These are agreements between the parties to resolve the matter without the need to have the issue decided by a judge or jury. Settlements are an efficient way to resolve disputes, ensure fairness, and provide incentive to ensure proper care 100% of the time.

New Illinois Nursing Home Settlement
Recently, our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers settled a case on behalf of a family against the Berkshire Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Forest Park, Illinois. The case involved a 93-year old man who was admitted to the defendant-facility in October of 2008. As with any admission the staff members analyzed the resident for his unique risks. Because of his vulnerabilities and mobility problems, he was noted for being a high-risk for developing pressure sores. When a resident is a high-risk for these ulcers, it is important that staff members make specific alterations to their care so that the sores do not develop. This involves proper repositioning, nutrition, and other care. In addition, the staff planned to use “pressure relieving” devices to help.

Unfortunately, the resident in this case did not receive care needed to prevent those sores. Among other care lapses, they failed to provide him with a pressure relieving mattresses as needed. All of this led to the development of many different sores. Those ulcers became infected and the resident eventually needed “debridement” surgery. Even with the operation, the man’s condition never fully improved following the infection. In April of 2009, only half a year after first entering the facility, the resident died as a result of the infection.

The man’s family contacting our legal team, and we filed suit on their behalf. After collecting information about what happened, we were able to reach a settlement with the facility for $500,000. The defendant-facility agreed to pay the insurance policy limit.

Don’t Allow Poor Care To Go Without Accountability
It is easy to decide against pursuing a facility for poor care provided by a nursing home. Especially in the grief of losing a loved one, many families are tempted to ignore clear signs that their family member did not receive the care to which they were entitled. However, it is important not to forget that the accountability function serves to encourage changes at the facility which may save another resident down the road.

See Other Blog Posts:

Report on Disparities in Nursing Home Sanctions

Attorney Steve Levin Presenting At Evidentiary Seminar

October 27, 2012

Settlement in Medicare Payment Rules Case

by Levin & Perconti

The vast majority of community members would prefer to "age in place" instead of moving into a long-term care facility or nursing home. Living in one's own home comes with clear benefits regarding individual comfort, freedom, and familiarity. However, there are obviously times when living at home is impossible and skilled nursing care is a necessity. The line between when the close care is mandatory and when it is not can sometimes be tricky to delineate. Many families have likely battled with one another over these issues. Does a loved one need to move into a different living environment?

Fortunately, advances in medicine and technology have made great strides in allowing more care than ever before to be received at home, without the need to move into a skilled nursing facility or a hospital. This often means that more elderly and individuals with disabilities than ever before might be able to live longer in their own homes. However, there is one complication to this extended at-home care: how is it getting paid for?

A few families have significant means and might be able to provide all the necessary care out of pocket. But the reality is that many families rely on Medicare and Medicaid support for these long-term caregiving issues. That means that specific rules created by these programs regarding what will be covered and when have very real implicatons on the lives of the hundreds of thousands of families in this situation. At times, advocates for seniors and those with disabiltiies are forced to engage in legal battles with these government entities if they feel that rules are not applied correctly or fairly to the detriment of community members.

Medicare Payment Rules
For example, the New York Times recently reported on the settement of a case filed on behalf of those with chronic conditions, including many elderly individuals and those with serious disabilties. The specific focus of the suit was Medicare rules that had been around for quite some time and required beneficiaries to show a "likelihood of medical or functional improvement" before receiving payment support for necessary care like therapy services or even skilled nursing home care. The hurdle of meeting that "likelihood" test was often high, meaning residents were denied the support they needed to pay for the care they required via the Medicare program.

A class-action lawsuit filed by elder care advocates challenged that rule and, as outlined in the story, recently reached a settlement with federal officials. Per the terms of the settlement Medicare will now pay for necessary support in order to "maintain the patient’s current condition or prevent or slow further deterioration.” This seems logical as, in many cases, the best medical plan available is to keep one's condition stable, even when long-term reversals of past harm might not be realistic.

In speaking on the matter, the senior care advocate and attorney involved in the dispute noted that, "As the population ages and people live longer with chronic and long-term conditions. [...] [T]he government’s insistence on evidence of medical improvement threatened an ever-increasing number of older and disabled people.”

In other words, after this settlement the rules will better match the actual needs of the patients and not random "likelihood of improvement" rules that often just denied the sickest patients the care that they needed.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Lawsuit in Death of Resident with Dementia

State Court Finds Mandatory Arbitration in NH Cases Unconscionable

July 13, 2011

Illinois Family Obtains $500,000 Settlement Against ManorCare at Palos Heights Nursing Home

by Levin & Perconti

Today our Chicago nursing home negligence lawyers Michael F. Bonamarte, IV and Margaret P. Battersby helped a family obtain fairness when the judge approved and ordered a $500,000 nursing home negligence settlement. Our client had suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for a brief period of time. After hospitalization, she was admitted to the nursing home for rehabilitation. After fourteen days of rehabilitation, she returned home.

When our client was admitted to the ManorCare at Palos Heights East, she had a Stage I pressure ulcer. Pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin and tissue that are caused by prolonged pressure on the body. Pressure ulcers are categorized into four different stages, with Stage I indicating an area of redness and Stage IV indicating damage to the muscle and bone.

Although the nursing home knew that our client was at risk for pressure ulcers, they did not develop a plan of care for her pressure ulcer until the eleventh day of her fourteen day stay. The nursing home did not treat her condition with pressure reliving techniques such as repositioning, turning, or a pressure reduction mattress. Instead, the nursing home allowed our client’s Stage I pressure ulcer to progress into a Stage IV pressure ulcer. As her pressure ulcer worsened, her skin broke and exposed the wound to contaminants. Unfortunately for our client the nursing home neglected to protect the wound, causing the wound to become infected and necrotic.

Suspecting that the nursing home neglected our client, her family called the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). IDPH investigated ManorCare at Palos Heights and found that the nursing home failed to provide appropriate care and treatment of our client’s pressure ulcer. Furthermore, the IDPH cited the nursing home for failing to provide our client timely medical treatment.

As a result of the nursing home’s neglect, our client’s pressure ulcer was never able to heal. She suffered from the painful pressure ulcer until her death about ten months after she left the nursing home. Although the pressure ulcer lawsuit settlement can never make-up for our client’s family’s loss, it will help to cover the extensive financial burden of medical and funeral expenses.

Continue reading "Illinois Family Obtains $500,000 Settlement Against ManorCare at Palos Heights Nursing Home" »

January 14, 2011

Illinois Agreement Reached To Move Resident Out of Nursing Homes

by Levin & Perconti

The Chicago Tribune reported this week on a new agreement that may have long-lasting implications for some developmentally disabled Illinoisans working to move out of nursing homes.

The agreement was reached between state officials and disability rights activists who sought changes in the way certain disabled nursing home members were treated. The group filed a class action lawsuit against the state in 2005 claiming that the state care of these individuals was lacking. The basis of the charge was the then inability of residents to live in an integrated living environment. The claim was rooted in the American with Disabilities Act and its rejection of undue segregation.

An agreement was recently reached between the parties in that original suit. If approved by a judge, the decree will allow much greater flexibility of living conditions for developmentally disabled residents. According to the agreement, all 6,000 residents of these special facilities are able to move out of the nursing home and into a small group home.

The agreement remains flexible in that only those individuals who chose to leave the larger facilities are able—instead of forcing all in the group to move to smaller group homes.

Continue reading "Illinois Agreement Reached To Move Resident Out of Nursing Homes" »

November 9, 2010

Jury Returns Verdict in Nursing Home Bedsores Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

AboutLawsuits.com reported last week on the end of a nursing home trial involving a resident killed by negligent care. The jury ultimately awarded the family of a former resident over $600,000 for the events surrounding his death.

The lawsuit was filed by a family against the Retama Manor Nursing Center. The nursing home victim died in 2007 after being treated for bedsores (pressure ulcers) that had gone untreated by the nursing home staff. Bedsores are skin lesions caused by constant pressure on bony areas of the body—these damaging ulcers are almost always preventable when care is consistent and proper. However, when nursing home residents are not moved frequently and have poor nutrition and hydration, the sores are quicker to develop.

Even more, the family discovered that the employees of the nursing home falsified medical records to make it seem as if their family member had been checked on more than he actually was. It was also claimed that the victim was suffering from malnutrition and dehydration while supposedly being cared for by nursing home staff members. All of the negligent care was due in large part to the understaffing at the facility, caused by the owner’s drive for maximized profits.

Our Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti have fought for decades for victims of neglect just like this one. Many of the most common signs of poor nursing home care were exhibited here: bedsores, malnutrition and dehydration, and understaffing. Of course, when employees attempt to falsify medical records at a facility, it becomes increasingly difficult to prove misconduct. It is often a real struggle to get at the truth in these situations, which is why it is vital to contact experienced nursing home lawyers to help if you or a family member has been hurt by poor care at one of these facilities.

October 26, 2010

Nursing Home Lawsuit Ends with Verdict for Resident's Family

by Levin & Perconti

My SA News reported last week on the end of a nursing home trial following claims of negligent conduct by the facility staff. After deliberating for a day following the trial, a jury last Wednesday found nursing home employees at fault for severe bedsores that a resident developed which contributed to his death.

The victim was a resident of the Retama Manor for six years. The facility was purposefully understaffed in an effort to maximize profits, often meaning that a single nurse was responsible for up to 60 residents. That negligence allowed patients to sit without care for extended periods of time—the perfect conditions for dangerous bedsores to affect patients.

The victim in this case was eventually brought to a local emergency room with two bedsores that had rotted to the bone.

In total, considering the medical bills, mental anguish, and pain and suffering, the estate of the deceased resident was awarded nearly $600,000 by the jury. However, under the arbitrary damage cap law in the state, that jury decision will likely be randomly reduced to a lower amount.

The family of the victim spoke out following the decision, explaining that they hope the verdict acts as a wake-up call to the negligent nursing home. The daughter of the resident shared, “We just didn’t want him to be a statistic. We needed to bring attention to the problems out there.”

Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti share the same goal—raising awareness of the continued mistreatment of our elderly friends and family. The number of deaths at our nation’s nursing facilities due to preventable mistakes and chronic mistreatment is astounding. Every day more innocent victims languish in poor conditions with damaging effects on their health and well-being. If you know of anyone who has suffered in this way, please contact a nursing home lawyer and help put an end to the problem.

July 23, 2010

Chicago Nursing Homes Using Scare Tactics to Keep Residents From Leaving

by Levin & Perconti

The Chicago Tribune reported recently on a new lawsuit filed by nursing home reform advocates against profit-driven nursing home operators.

Currently, over 4,500 Illinois residents with mental disabilities live in twenty four specifically designated Institutions for Mental Disease (IMDs) throughout the state. However, in a recent court settlement, the state pledged to allow some of those residents the option of transferring to community-based housing programs if they chose to leave the IMD. Only residents who passed specific screenings to assess their mental health level would be given the option of seeking out other living situations.

The recent nursing home lawsuit filed by the resident advocates claim that the IMDs are sending information to residents about the settlement that is confusing, misleading, and intended to provoke fear. The IMDs are attempting to scare all residents into preserving the status quo, claim the advocates. In that way, the operators of the IMDs are able to ensure that their profit-making nursing homes do not lose any money as residents leave their facility.

For example, Abbot House, an IMD located in Highland Park, sent “information sheets” to its residents claiming that troubling state finances make it unlikely that the state would be able to provide the proper services if residents chose to move to the community-based housing programs.

The entire situation was created by a previous consent decree which sought to uphold the basic principle that mentally ill Illinois residents should be forced to live only in the least restrictive housing situation necessary to protect their health and safety. Under the older system, all residents, regardless of their mental condition were forced to abide by the restrictions within the IMDs. The community-based housing options sought to allow the higher functioning residents a more open living choice with assistance provided as needed in subsidized apartment and group-home settings.

The fear-mongering by the Institutions for Mental Disease is another desperate ploy that highlights a pervasive problem at many nursing homes across the state: the prioritizing of money over resident care. Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti have experienced many forms of this problem. Whether it is failing to adequately staff a facility in order to spend less on salaries or deciding not to pay the costs necessary to improve substandard facilities, all too often nursing home administrators provide negligent care in order to save money.

No nursing home resident should be given less than they are entitled so that more money may end up in the hands of for-profit businessmen. Be sure to keep a vigilant eye on all activities in the nursing homes nearby and contact an attorney if your suspect someone has suffered from abusive and negligent nursing home care.

June 28, 2010

Proposed Legislation Would Help Suffering Seniors

by Levin & Perconti

The federal government is considering passage of a piece of legislation aimed at helping fix a problem that adds to the suffering of many senior citizens. HR4796, the Medicare Secondary Payer Enhancement Act, would correct a problem with the Medicare Secondary Payer system that currently causes many seniors to die while waiting to receive funds to which they are entitled.

As it now stands, many insurers and other funding sources who owe money to seniors must first confirm that the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) is reimbursed before sending the owed funds to the seniors. However, the CMS system’s inefficiency means that it is often months and even years before CMS responds to these requests for reimbursements, keeping the senior waiting without compensation. This current system also makes many cases not fit for settlement, because the insurer or other payer of a claim are unable to fairly assess the cost and reasonable settlement amount in a timely manner.

The new bill would essentially require CMS to respond to these requests within two months. This would guarantee that the insurers and others receive timely information about CMS reimbursement enabling them to efficiently compensate seniors the money that they are due.

The measure would be funded by a $30 application fee, meaning there is no cost to the taxpayer for the improved efficiency. The bill is currently in the early stages of the legislative process. Earlier this year it was referred to the House Energy and Commerce committee where it awaits further action.

The Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti support this bill as a logical, efficient and necessary improvement to help victimized and suffering seniors. As facilitators of many settlements for victims of elder abuse, our lawyers have witnessed first-hand the important role that settlement and prompt payment serves to the most desperate seniors. The time to correct this inefficiency is the system is long overdue. We encourage everyone to contact their member of Congress and advocate for the bill’s passage.

June 6, 2010

Chicago Nursing Home Lawyer Settles Abuse Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

Chicago nursing home lawyer Susan Novosad of Levin & Perconti helped the family of a victim of nursing home abuse in their settlement against the Mercy Health Care Rehabilitation Center, securing a $690,000 settlement for the 87-year-old victim's family recently.

The victim was initially admitted to the nursing home after suffering a stroke that caused her some left-sided weakness. When she entered the nursing home she required supervision and needed assistance with activities. She was known to be a fall risk. However, despite the nursing home’s knowledge of her fall risk, they allowed her to fall. She suffered a right femur fracture which was treated with a brace. While still in the nursing home’s care, she suffered a skin breakdown from the brace rubbing against her leg. This breakdown still went untreated by the nursing home staff and the victim developed Osteomyelitis. The combination of the fracture and the infection contributed to the victim’s death seven months later, according to the settlement report.

The nursing home negligence complaint alleged that the defendant nursing home failed to appropriately develop, implement or revise a care plan to address the decedent’s fall risk and failed to ensure that the decedent received proper supervision to prevent falls. It also stated that after her fall, the nursing home failed to provide preventative measures to avoid the development of skin breakdown, and failed to provide the necessary treatment and services to promote the healing of the decedent’s skin breakdown. If you believe that a nursing home is not addressing your loved one’s risk for falls, we recommend that you consult with staff to address the preventions they are using to prevent falls. If your loved one endures a serious injury in a nursing home fall, consult a nursing home lawyer.

May 13, 2010

Jury Finds Nursing Home Negligence and Grants $28 Million in Punitive Damages

by Levin & Perconti

A jury has determined that a nursing home needs to pay $28 million in punitive damages after being found responsible for a woman’s death. The jury found that both the nursing home company and their parent company were guilty of elder abuse in the death of a 79-year-old resident. The jury was presented with testimony concerning the corporation’s finances before awarding the punitive damages. They also awarded $1.1 million in pain and suffering damages and loss of companionship. The state has threatened to revoke the license, but instead has reached an agreement to stay open.

It is obvious that this nursing home conglomerate put profits over patient care. The jurors decided that the home’s conduct was “malicious and oppressive” which allowed them to grant punitive damages. The victim was suffering from mild dementia when she moved into the home. Seven months after she moved in she suffered a fall that resulted in a broken hip. This coupled with an infected bedsore caused her death. Jurors heard testimony concerning the understaffing of the home and the poor medical documentation that helped cause her death. While understaffing allows nursing home owners to maximize profits, it has been proven to lead to nursing home neglect. The founder of the advocacy group Foundation Aiding the Elderly stated that this was a monumental verdict.

If you believe that a loved one resides in a nursing home that is understaffed and has suffered serious injury or death as a result, please consult a Chicago injury lawyer. To read more about this case of nursing home abuse, please click the link.

March 18, 2010

Punitive Damages Awarded In Nursing Home Pressure Sore Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

A Philadelphia jury issued a $5 million punitive damage claim against Jeanes Hospital and a Wyncote nursing home in the death of a man who suffered from fatal bedsores. According to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, this is only the second time a jury awarded punitive damages in a nursing home case in Philadelphia. Compensatory damages in nursing home cases are expected; punitive damages are awarded only when a jury finds that a facility had engaged in "outrageous and reckless conduct.” In this case, the plaintiff went to the nursing home after suffering weakness and confusion. The doctors failed to identify that he was suffering from a urinary tract infection. As a result, the infection worsened and left him susceptible to bedsores that ultimately killed him. Furthermore, workers at the nursing home and hospital allowed the pressure sores to fester and the patient to go malnourished to the point that he lost 28 pounds. This verdict will help the Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti spread the message that this type of negligent nursing home care is deplorable and will not be tolerated.

March 17, 2010

Class-Action Lawsuit Orders Illinois to Help Residents Transfer Out of Institutions and Nursing Homes

by Levin & Perconti

A settlement in a class-action lawsuit has demanded that the state of Illinois must help thousands of residents move out of large mental institutions. The state must also provide those residents with support services. The Chicago Sun Times has reported that the state will have five years to help those residents make a transition to small homes and apartments. The residents will be overseen by a court-appointed monitor.

The negligence lawsuit was filed by the ACLU and claimed that Illinois has violated the rights of 4,500 mentally ill people by forcing them to live with large groups of others who have mental illnesses in under-funded facilities. By doing this, the ACLU argued that Illinois had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. One 51-year-old victim resided in the Chicago nursing home of Columbus Manor for nearly 10 years. He wants to move out and get a job and believes that he can manage his own medications with some help. He feels that the state has been too slow to help him with this transition. Illinois has 25 nursing homes that will be subject to this settlement.

Another nursing home lawsuit has been filed that involves those mentally ill residents who live in nursing homes with the elderly. More than 13,000 mentally ill people live in nursing homes throughout Illinois that also house senior residents. It is imperative that Illinois address these problems for the sake of both the mentally ill and the elderly. The Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti believe this is a positive step towards nursing home reformation. To learn more about the Illinois settlement, please click the link.

March 5, 2010

U.S. Supreme Courts Rules Nursing Home Resident has a Private Right of Action Under FNHRA

by Levin & Perconti

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied certioria in a case where the Third Circuit Court of Appeals said that a nursing home resident and Medicaid recipient may sue their facility under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments (FNHRA). The plaintiff in the case was a nursing home resident and Medicaid recipient. After the victim wrongfully died her daughter filed a nursing home lawsuit against the facility under a §1983 action. The nursing home lawsuit claimed the facility violated the FNHRA by not providing proper care. The nursing home tried to commit the complaint by claiming that the FNHRA does not provide an enforceable right of action through §1983. They argued that FNHRA only sets forth requirements that a nursing facility must comply with in order to receive federal Medicaid funds. The district court did agree with the nursing home, and the victim appealed the ruling.

Luckily, the Third Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling and held that the FNHRA does give Medicaid recipients rights and remedies under §1983. Elder Law Answers reported that the appellate court reasoned that both as a nursing home resident and Medicaid recipient, the victim was an intended beneficiary of the FNHRA. The court believed that the language of the FNHRA laid out specific enforceable rights for victims of nursing home abuse. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the writ of certioria and rested on the Third Circuit’s ruling. They believe this will cause all nursing homes to rethink patient’s rights. The Chicago nursing home lawyers agree the rulings of both the Third Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court and thank them for their support of nursing home rights.

December 17, 2009

$7.75 Million Awarded in Elderly Abuse Case

by Levin & Perconti

A jury awarded $7.75 million to the family of a 71-year-old stroke victim who filed an elder abuse lawsuit against his nursing home. The trial featured a secret videotape of the woman being abused. The nursing home abuse lasted 22 days. The jury deliberated for two days before announcing the $7.75 million dollar nursing home abuse verdict, $5 million of which were in actual damages. The 71 year old was a resident at the center and family members noticed during a visit that she was bruised. They complained to the facility, but the nursing home failed to investigate. The family then set up a video camera on a side table in her room to do their own investigation. The video tape caught an employee slapping the victim, puller her around by the hair, bending her neck, fingers and wrists and treating her violently in a shower chair. The employee pled no contest to simple battery. This is a heinous example of nursing home abuse. To learn more about the nursing home verdict, please click the link.

December 1, 2009

Illinois Jury Declares Nursing Home Neglect

by Levin & Perconti

A jury found that Rosewood Care Center of Joliet, Illinois was responsible for the death of an elderly resident. The victim died after suffering a huge bedsore that ate through her skin to the bone. The jury awarded $51,000 to the victim of the nursing home neglect. The victim died at age 88 after undergoing a procedure to remove bedsores and treat bone infections brought on by her confinement to her bed and her exposure to urine and other bodily fluids during her care. The victim has a hole in her backside the size of a fist. The bedsore was the contributing factor in the victim’s death. If you would like to read more about the nursing home verdict, please click the link.

November 8, 2009

Nursing Home Pharmacy to Pay $112 Million to Settle False Claims Act Cases

by Levin & Perconti

The nation’s largest nursing home pharmacy, Omnicare, will pay $98 million and drug manufacturer, IVAX will pay $14 million to resolve allegations that Omnicare engaged in kickback schemes with several parties. A portion of the settlement has been allocated to cover Medicaid program claims by participating states. Omnicare is the nation’s largest pharmacy that specializes in providing drugs to nursing home patients. This settlement resolves allegations that the company solicited or paid a variety of kickbacks. The company allegedly solicited and received kickbacks from a pharmaceutical manufacturer in exchange for agreeing to recommend that physicians prescribe a specific drug to nursing home patients. The kickbacks included data purchase fees, educational grants and fees to attend meetings. Additionally, Omnicare regularly paid kickbacks to nursing homes by providing consultant pharmacist services at rates below the company’s cost and below the fair market value of such services in order to induce the homes to refer their patients to Omnicare for pharmacy services. The Assistant Attorney General stated that the company broke the law to take advantage of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, the elderly and the poor. To read more about the nursing home kickbacks, please click the link.