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The lawsuit was initiated by a physician who is a relative of the deceased patient. According to information contained in the lawsuit and remarks made by attorney’s during opening statements, the woman was admitted to Woodland Oaks from May 24, 2003 to June 30, 2003 for rehabilitation from a recent hip fracture.
It was during her admission that staff failed to provide proper care and allowed her to become dehydration and malnourished. As a result of the dehydration and malnutrition, the woman developed a severe urinary tract infection amongst other medical problems that lead to her death on August 3, 2003.
Lawyers representing the woman’s estate were quick to identify facts that supported their allegation such as:
- The woman received only 600-700 cc of fluids per day despite an order for 1,770cc
- The woman’s weight dropped from 132 pounds to 116 pounds during her admission
- The nursing home identified the woman as having ‘fair’ potential to make significant improvement
Not surprisingly, lawyers representing the nursing home are quick to portray the woman was an elderly person who had a lot of medical problems and her complications were basically a manifestation of the inevitable.
Confused as to which story to believe?
So are other people. This same case was tried on two prior occasions that resulted in mistrials. As the jury hears the evidence in this trial they will be forced to decide if they should any— or a portion of the $12 million sought by the the woman’s family.
Not surprisingly, these contrasting versions of events and patient quality of life arise in most nursing home negligence lawsuits. While persuasive lawyers may be effective in presenting the evidence, many trials also utilize the expertise of retained experts to assist the jury in understanding some of the relatively complex medical issues that arise.
Of course the type of expert needs to be tailored to the specific type of case, but as a nursing home lawyer I frequently use the following experts on my cases:
- Orthopedic surgeons
- Infectious disease experts
- Forensic accountants
Attorneys dispute care given to patient, Ironton Tribune December 1, 2010