Attorneys obtained a defense verdict in a long-term care negligence claim brought against a nursing home
Attorneys obtained a defense verdict in a long-term care negligence claim brought against a nursing home. The plaintiff, a 75-year-old man with a prior medical history of stroke, back surgery, knee surgery, diabetes, etc. had hip replacement surgery at a hospital, and was transferred to a sub acute facility with a stage 2 buttock ulcer and a heel ulcer within a week. The buttock ulcer worsened to a stage 4 with osteomyelitis at the sub acute facility. Plaintiff was then transferred back to the hospital for antibiotics and arrived at our facility on December 1, 2005. Plaintiff had a minor fall on December 11th, his sacral wound ultimately improved, he underwent daily physical and occupational therapy and was able to walk a few steps with a walker by his discharge on February 3, 2006. While at home, the heel ulcer worsened and plaintiff was readmitted to the hospital February 9 with multiple debridements and severe circulatory compromise. He underwent an above knee amputation on March 5, 2006. Plaintiff alleged violations of the state Nursing Home Act and OBRA violations, which allows for the recovery of punitive damages and fee shifting. Plaintiff alleged the fall at our client's facility caused him severe leg pain which caused a contracture of the knee and the development of a heel ulcer. Plaintiff further alleged that the ulcer and contracture were the cause of the above knee amputation. Plaintiff's treating vascular surgeon testified that he had to amputate because of an infected ulcer and had to perform an above knee amputation because of a "20 degree knee contracture." Defense expert testified that the reason for the amputation was circulatory in nature and by demonstrating the use of a guide wire, etc. in an arteriogram, showed the jury how a 20 degree contracture could not possibly effect a bypass procedure. The judge allowed the jury instructions to include all OBRA, state statutes and administrative code violations. The judge also allowed a jury interrogatory regarding violation of a statute without proximate cause. After a 37 day trial, the jury deliberated 4 hours and returned a defense verdict on all counts.