Articles Posted in Verdicts and Settlements

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.