Joseph Clint Offutt lived an admirable life. Like many of his generation, Mr. Offutt served in World War II, working on the farm and was a dedicated husband for 58 years. Yet despite all of his accomplishments in life, age began to creep up on Mr. Offutt.
On March 25, 2008 Mr. Offutt was admitted to Harborside of Madisonville (currently known as Hillside Villa Care and Rehabilitation Center). Just nine days later, Mr. Offutt was transferred to a nearby hospital for multiple complications he developed during his brief stay inlcuding:
On April 3, 2008, at the age of 92, Mr. Offutt passed from the complications that developed during his brief stay at Harborside (Kentucky).
As a result of the poor care, Mr. Offutt’s family initiated a wrongful death lawsuit against Harborside and the parent company Sunbridge Healthcare Corporation.
After three weeks of hearing evidence in the case, a jury awarded Mr. Offutt’s family $42.75 million comprised of $1 million pain and suffering, $1.75 million for his wife’s loss and $40 million for punitive damages.
Short Stays, Rapid Declines
While the juries award in this matter is certainly not typical for most nursing home negligence matters, the fact patter unfortunately is. Many of the nursing home negligence cases my office is currently prosecuting involve the development of a medical complication after a brief admission to the facility.
In some cases the rapid spiral of poor care stems from the fact that the patient is new and staff may be infamiliar with their medical needs. In a substantial number of cases, I tend to see facilitieis over-promise and under-deliver when it comes to being capable of providing care that the patient requires and that the familiy was assured of.
Either case is unacceptable and merits furhter evaluation by an attorney who prosecutes nursing home cases to determine if the correlation between admission and death is a coincidence or due to the negligence of the facility.
For laws related to Kentucky nursing homes, look here.