This case report comes to us, by way of the American Association of Justice, from Georgia.
Morris Ellison, 80, suffered from dementia, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and other health problems. He had a history of falling and could not walk without assistance. He was admitted to Moran Lake Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where he suffered numerous falls and developed bedsores and infections.
On one occasion, a nursing assistant noticed that Ellison’s bed rail had broken, allowing him to fall to the floor. Instead of getting him a new bed, staff pushed his bed against the wall to compensate for the broken rail.
Ellison continued to suffer falls and injuries at the home. About seven months after his admission, he sustained a serious fall and fractured his hip, which had already been injured in a prior fall. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of complications from the fracture.
Ellison’s daughter sued the nursing home, alleging the staff failed to properly assess her father’s risk of falling, implement an appropriate fall prevention program, and care for his injuries. Suit also claimed failure to provide adequate care to residents, who, plaintiff charged, were denied sufficient food, water, and medical equipment.
The jury awarded $43.5 million, including $35 million in punitive damages.
My Take: This nursing home clearly put “profits ahead of (caring for) people” and deserved getting hit with a substantial verdict. Maybe next time they will provide better care to its residents.