A Colorado jury awarded $3.7 million this week to the family of a nursing home patient who died as a result of employee negligence.
The elderly woman entered the nursing home to recover from two broken ankles and all accounts indicated that the stay would be temporary. Reports indicate that she worked at the Colorado nursing home some thirty years before becoming a patient there.
When she went into the nursing home, the woman had a catheter in place that remained there during her stay. The jury determined that the nursing home employees were negligent in monitoring the catheter as well as the woman's overall health. As a result of the negligence, she developed a severe urinary tract infection that spread to her bloodstream and eventually caused her death. There were also allegations that the nursing home employees falsified documents to show they provided care to the woman when no care actually occurred, though it is unclear if the jury made a determination on this claim.
The victim's daughter filed a lawsuit for damages which the jury determined to be $3.7 million - $200,000 for the daughter's pain and suffering and $3.5 million as punitive damages against the nursing home. A spokesperson for the nursing home announced that they are still considering whether they will appeal part or all of the award.
Unfortunately this type of nursing home abuse and neglect happens in Illinois every day. Patients have a right to receive quality medical and nursing care but for a number of reasons, including financial incentive, understaffed homes, and lack of culpability, residents often receive substandard care that leads to injury and even death.
Many nursing home patients are unable to complain about the care they receive or do not have adequate means to make their complaints heard. This causes many cases of neglect and abuse to go unreported and uncorrected across the state. Often family members of nursing home residents are the first to suspect neglect or notice signs of abuse.