Published on:

Jury Recognizes Nursing Home Neglect After Patient Developed Pressure Sores

Nursing Home NeglectOne of the most common defense strategies employed by nursing homes in jury cases, is to make the case more complicated than it really is. The theory behind this tactic is my making the underlying case about medicine– as opposed to a facility simply not doing their job the waters will begin to get more murky– and hopefully more difficult for a jury to make a finding against them.

Indeed while some medical malpractice cases are incredibly complex, the truth is that nursing home negligence cases are generally far more simple— a person or facility not doing their job.  While it’s easy to sit back and make these assertions, the truth is that as a person sitting on a jury I can see how these issues could make the underlying case difficult to sort through.

Jurors Role In Assessing Fact From Fiction

A recent trial in Florida is a prime example of why we should have faith in our jury system and the people who serve on them.  The lawsuit involved a common– yet unfortunate– set of circumstances where a widow sued a nursing home alleging that the facilities inferior care caused her husband’s death.

As reported in the Sun-Sentinel, Patricia Dahmer initiated the case against Lake Worth Manor Nursing Home in relation to the care (or lack thereof) provided to her husband during a short-term admission to the facility in 2008.  Ms. Dahmer’s husband- George, a former professional wrestler, entered the facility for care related to his advanced dementia. However, during during just the initial 63 days of admission the facility allowed the once robust man to drop 32 pounds, diminish his ability to walk, talk and allowed him to develop pressure sores on his buttocks and heels due to being confined to a wheelchair. (read more about pressure sores here)

Not surprisingly, the extent of Mr. Dahmer’s de-conditioning were never relayed to the family until he was transferred to a different nursing home.  It was at the second facility that the family was made aware of the neglectful care.

$1.8 Million Later

Apparently, the allegations made by the family were sufficient for the jury to determine what really happened during the admission. As an outsider to the case, it’s unfair for me to suggest that such a decision was easy.  As with most nursing home negligence cases, a defense of some sort is usually concocted by the lawyers defending the facility– we did everything, the decline was inevitable, it wasn’t our fault, etc…. in this case the facility raised another tried and true defense tactic, the medicine doesn’t support such a verdict.

According to a statement released from Lake Worth Enterprises, ‘[t]his was an extremely complex case involving a patient with multiple disease processes who had been treated by four separate facilities and different attending physicians.”

Addressing Defenses Head On

As a lawyer who represents many elderly, frail, and frankly sick people in nursing home negligence matters, I never attempt to dance around my clients condition.  Rather, I think it’s important to get the staff at the facility to acknowledge the existence of such conditions in order to establish that they had knowledge of the individuals situation.

Similarly, when presenting a case before a jury, I find that jurors are much more sympathetic to a situation when they are presented with a realistic assessment of the situation and the individuals condition.  As soon as you  lose trust with a jury, they begin to second-guess every claim being presented– rightfully or wrongfully.

Thankfully in this case, it looks like the jury saw the real picture.

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case. Latrice M.★★★★★
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire. Margaret O.★★★★★
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me. Roosevelt C.★★★★★
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers. Shawna E.★★★★★
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth. Douglas V.★★★★★