The decedent, a ninety-year-old woman suffering from a host of co-morbidities, was admitted to the defendant’s facility. Upon her admission, she has adjudged a significant fall risk due to muscle weakness, lethargy and difficulty walking. She required constant assistance with regard to all aspects of mobility. On July 31, 2009, the decedent was found on the floor of her room by one of the defendant’s employees. She had suffered an unwitnessed fall and was bleeding profusely from her forehead. The defendant concluded that the decedent had fallen out of bed. There was no mention, in the decedent’s medical records, however, that appropriate precautions were taken by the defendant to prevent this foreseeable circumstance. The decedent was rushed to Norwood Hospital where she was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma. She succumbed to her injuries several days later.
The plaintiff’s expert, a Board Certified Internist, concluded that within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the defendant’s negligence brought about the decedent’s untimely death. Specifically, the expert opined that “…the decedent required a care plan that provided assistance in all areas of mobility. In addition, she needed to be secured in her bed with guards to prevent any falls. The defendant’s facility did not utilize guards on the sides of the decedent’s bed, thus facilitating her fall.”
Discovery revealed that the defendant’s facility was understaffed and therefore significantly hampered in utilizing proper monitoring and supervision of their patients, including the decedent.
The case was settled for $175,000.