One of our neighbor states to the south, West Virginia, just reported a huge settlement awarded to an elderly woman’s family after it was discovered that nursing home workers indirectly caused her death through neglect.
According to the West Virginia Gazette, the jury found that workers at Heartland of Charleston failed to feed and care for the woman who stayed at the home for approximately 3 weeks while waiting to be transferred to another home.
Elderly woman’s family was awarded $91.5 million in damages, including $80 million in punitive damages and $11.5 million in compensatory damages.
The woman suffered from Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions. She was checked into Heartland until space at another nursing home opened up. While at Heartland, her son found out that she was labeled a fall risk and that she was confined to a wheelchair. By the time she was transferred to another facility, she was unresponsive, she had lost 15 pounds, and she was severely dehydrated. She died a day after her transfer.
Several former Heartland workers testified that they were not able to properly care for all of the residents and that there were not enough nurses on staff to care for the woman.
During the trial, lawyers for the woman’s family claimed that the nursing home kept the number of residents high and the number of staff low to increase profit. ManorCare Inc. is a parent company named in the lawsuit.
The article also mentioned that from February 2010 to April 2011, state inspectors cited Heartland for 28 deficiencies – more than double the state’s average of 13.
Here in Pennsylvania we have nursing homes run by ManorCare. It’s frightening to think that an elderly loved one, in need of care and medical attention, could be cast aside and ignored. If you or someone you know has been neglected while in a nursing home, you may have a case. Contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates for a free review of your case.