As an Atlanta trial lawyer, I have often seen instances of severe neglect in nursing homes. Last week I wrote on this blog about the ratings of Georgia’s 358 nursing homes, 115 of which rated "much below average."
A few days ago, a DeKalb County jury returned a $1.25 million verdict for the family of an amputee who died due to bedsores allegedly caused by substandard care at Kindred Healthcare’s Tucker Nursing Center in 2002, as reported by Andy Peters in the Fulton County Daily Report.
The plaintiffs’ claim was that the patient was left to lie in his own waste for hours because nursing home caregivers neglected to turn him, as required by law, leading to development of stage-four bedsores on his buttocks that penetrated to the bone. As a result, he went into a catabolic state, a condition in which his tissues began breaking down, which led to malnutrition, additional bedsores, extreme inflammation of his entire body, and eventually death.
The defense claimed that all this was was expected due to the patient’s underlying medical issues and history of prior skin integrity issues, other medical problems, and neglect by other caregivers. The defense that the patient was old and sick anyway apparently did not work with the jury.
This reminds me of a nursing home malpractice case I handled several years ago in which an elderly woman at a nursing home developed a pressure sore on her ankle due to attendants leaving her in one position in her wheelchair far too long. This led to gangrene and amputation. When she returned to the nursing home after amputation of that leg, an attendant dropped her and broke the other leg, causing immense additional suffering. Whatever quality of life she had before was pretty much lost.
At this firm we have lawyers who regularly handle nursing home malpractice, abuse and neglect cases.
Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a "Super Lawyer" (Atlanta Magazine), among the "Legal Elite" (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy,. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.