First Came the Record-Setting Award, and Now the Nursing Home Is Paying Legal Fees
On July 18, 2017, a record-setting $4.1M award was won by Levin & Perconti’s legal team of Margaret P. Battersby Black, Steven M. Levin, Susan L. Novosad, Daniel A. Goldfaden and sole practitioner Michael W. Rathsack on behalf of the estate of Dolores Trendel. On June 28, 2019, Justice James Fitzgerald Smith wrote in an unpublished order allowing the estate to recover the cost of litigation from the negligent nursing home at the center of the case – Clare Oaks.
The Nursing Home Care Act requires licensed senior care facilities to pay “the actual damages and costs and attorney’s fees to a faculty resident whose rights … are violated.”
This outcome, combined with the costs of fighting a lawsuit, have the potential to push many nursing homes to improve.
Mrs. Trendel’s Nursing Home Care Staff Failed Her
Mrs. Trendel died on March 15, 2015, at the age of 89 after nursing home staff at Clare Oaks, located in Bartlett, IL, failed to administer medication as ordered by her physician to prevent a stroke.
- February 23, 2011: Dolores Trendel was transferred from St. Alexius Medical Center to Clare Oaks for physical therapy after a fall in her home in January 2011 left her with a fractured left hip. Clare Oaks and their employees knew that Mrs. Trendel required Coumadin therapy for her atrial fibrillation, per her physician’s orders. She also required lab tests, including Prothrombin Time (PT) blood tests and International Normalized Ratio (INR) tests, to ensure that her medications were at therapeutic levels.
- March 16, 2011: An INR blood test showed that Mrs. Trendel required more Coumadin to thin her blood to prevent clotting and a stroke. Inexplicably, her Coumadin was stopped. Mrs. Trendel’s doctor insisted that he had not issued an order discontinuing the medication.
- On March 30, 2011: She did not receive her Coumadin for 14 days, was then observed with stroke-like symptoms and sent to St. Alexius Medical Center, where it was determined that her blood was not adequately thinned, and she had suffered a stroke.
Mrs. Trendel’s quality of life declined significantly until her death four years later at the age of 89. The jury found that the stroke contributed to causing her death and the lawsuit exposed nursing staff who did not follow facility policies for medication management and administration.
As first reported by John L. Kirkton, editor of Jury Verdict Reporter, a Law Bulletin Media publication, this verdict was and remains the highest reported jury verdict against a senior housing facility.
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