Labels frequently get tossed around when describing nursing home lawsuits. Admittedly, some of these descriptors such as ‘abuse’ or ‘neglect’ get overused by people who may have a ‘vested interest’ in the matter– family members, friends and attorneys. When an independent investigator applies ‘neglect’ to his findings, more people should take notice.
“Nursing home neglect”resulting in dehydration is what a Tennessee Medical Examiner ruled as the cause of death following the autopsy performed on 46-year-old Linda Carter. Carter died on March 27th at the at the University of Tennessee Medical Center following a nine day admission to Hillcrest North Nursing Home. Carter was admitted to Hillcrest for rehabilitation from injuries sustained in a car accident.
When Knox County Medical Examiner, Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, examined Carter’s body he noted the following visible signs of dehydration:
- Poor skin turgor
- Sunken eyes
- Concentrated urine
- Empty stomach and proximal small intestine
These autopsy results will not doubt provide added ammunition to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Carter’s children. The lawsuit against Hillcrest seeks $7 million in compensatory damages and $28 million in punitive damages.
Currently, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is conducting its own investigation into the death. TBI spokeswoman, Kristin Helm indicated that criminal charges may be filed against Hillcrest as well. “We are looking into it as a suspicious death,” Helm said. ” We met with the (Attorney General) and he asked us to look into it more, to review it and come back and meet with him again.”
Read more about the medical examiner’s finding here.
For laws related to Tennessee nursing homes, look here.
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