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Childs v. Pinnacle Health Care, LLC. (399 Ill.App.3d 167)

Childs v. Pinnacle Health CareArticles: Illinois

Childs v. Pinnacle Health Care, LLC. (399 Ill.App.3d 167)

CASE:
Childs v. Pinnacle Health Care, LLC. (399 Ill.App.3d 167)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Childs, Independent Administrator of the Estate of Dorothy Jones (deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Pinnacle Health Care, LLC.
COURT:
Appellate Court of Illinois (2010)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

The plaintiff estate brought medical malpractice and wrongful death action against a registered nurse who was also the director of nursing at the nursing home in which decedent was a resident. The nurse moved to have the complaint dismissed and the trial court granted the dismissal. The estate appealed that decision.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Dorothy Jones (decedent), a sufferer of multiple sclerosis, was rendered non- ambulatory and was admitted into Pinnacle, a long- term care facility on July 26, 2002. At the time Jones moved into the facility she had no skin impairments whatsoever.

However, skin assessments administered by Pinnacle employees between January 20, 2005 and October 4, 2006, categorized Jones to be at high risk for developing pressure sores. In her time at Pinnacle, Jones developed 16 pressure sores. By October 4, 2006, the ulcers had become infected and progressed to the stage where she needed to be transferred to the hospital.

Once admitted to the hospital it was discovered that the ulcers were infected and so severe that Jones was experiencing vaginal seepage, exposed tendons in her leg, and another that exposed her skull. It was also discovered that prior to Jones’ admittance into the hospital on October 4, 2006, she had developed multiple severe urinary tract infections, symptoms of recurrent infection, and severe respiratory problems. Jones died from respiratory failure on October 6, 2006.

On February 11, 2008 plaintiff, on behalf of the decedent, filed a complaint for Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death, and Funeral and Burial expenses.  All counts of the complaints named Carolyn English, the director of nursing at the time, as a Defendant.

English moved for dismissal stating that, under the Nursing Home Care Act, she could not be held liable for her activities an employee or the director of nursing for Pinnacle.

Plaintiff responded that the allegations against English were brought individually for medical malpractice and not based upon her activities as director of nursing.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial court granted English’s motion, dismissing the complaint against her with prejudice.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Is a plaintiff barred by the Nursing Home Care Act from bringing a cause of action against a medical professional employed at a nursing home, independently of the Nursing Home Care Act?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
No
RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:

“A plaintiff seeking recovery for healing art malpractice must allege facts that establish the existence of a standard of care by which to measure the defendant’s conduct, a negligent breach of that standard of care by the defendant, and an injury to the plaintiff proximately caused by the defendant’s breach.”

  • Cummings v. Jha, 394 Ill.App.3d 439, 451

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