On May 6, 2013, a Pueblo, Colorado medical malpractice jury awarded the surviving daughter of a nursing home resident $3.7 million, which included $200,000 for compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages, for the alleged medical malpractice of the nursing home staff that resulted in her mother’s death. The 88-year-old nursing home resident was only at the nursing home for five days. She was admitted to the nursing home with a catheter, which was supposed to be timely and properly monitored with appropriate catheter care in order to avoid the elderly woman from acquiring a urinary tract infection.
In April 2011, the woman, who had osteoporosis, had fractured both of her ankles in two separate incidents that resulted in her inability to walk. She received medical treatment in a hospital and was then transferred to the nursing home in May 2011 for rehabilitation services. It was expected that the elderly woman would return home after receiving rehabilitation at the nursing home.
According to the nursing home’s records, the nursing home staff checked on the woman shortly after 6 a.m. on May 6, 2011. The records reflect that no one checked on her again until almost 22 hours later. (The nursing home records also indicated other gaps of 12 hours, 19 hours, and 22 hours in checking on the woman.)
When the woman was first admitted to the nursing home, she was alert and communicative. Then, on May 7, 2011, the woman’s daughter noticed a dramatic decline in her mother’s health as she became less communicative and more tired. The daughter also noticed that her mother’s urine collection bag contained urine that was progressively turning darker but the nursing home staff failed to check on it or empty it.
The next day was Mother’s Day. The woman was found unresponsive in her nursing home room and was transported to the hospital without her daughter being advised. When the daughter arrived at the nursing home with flowers for her mother, she became distraught when she learned that her mother was in the hospital.
When she visited her mother in the hospital, the woman told her daughter that she wanted to die. After being advised as to the seriousness of her mother’s condition and her poor prognosis, she made the difficult decision to honor her mother’s decision.
The nursing home negligence lawsuit alleged that the improper monitoring of the woman led to her acquiring the urinary tract infection that subsequently spread to her bloodstream (sepsis) and caused her death, and that the nursing home falsified its records to reflect that medical care was given to the woman when it was not.
The nursing home responded to the jury’s verdict against it for both compensatory damages and punitive damages by stating that it will be reviewing its options over the next several weeks and then make its decision whether to appeal all or part of the verdict.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries or other harms while a resident of a nursing home in Colorado or in another state in the U.S., you should promptly seek the advice of a Colorado nursing home attorney or a nursing home attorney in your state who may be willing to investigate your nursing home negligence claim for you and represent you in a nursing home case, if appropriate.
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