California Jury Returns $30M Verdict Against Understaffed Nursing Home
A California jury returned verdicts totaling more than $30 million against the owners of a Roseville nursing home after a Sacramento State professor died following a brief stay. The jury returned a verdict of $5.9 million in compensatory damages and an additional $25 million in punitive damages in a lawsuit filed against Pine Creek Care Center and related corporate entities. The trial lasted 79 days and involved allegations that the nursing home woefully understaffed its facility until conditions were unsafe for residents. In this case, the decedent spent two weeks at the nursing home before succumbing to pressure ulcers that developed on his heels. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that the nursing home prioritized profits over the care of its residents.
The defendant’s demise began after he fell at his home and suffered a fractured hip. He was treated at a local hospital and then sent to Pine Creek for short-term rehabilitation. Upon being admitted to the facility, the decedent had redness on both of his heels and was identified as being “high risk” for the breakdown of his skin. He arrived at the facility with heel protectors that he had been using at the hospital. The staff at Pine Creek allegedly “put the heel protectors in the closet” and never used them, according to the plaintiff’s attorney. The nursing home’s care plan never documented that he was at high risk for developing pressure ulcers. He was repositioned only once during the 42 shifts that he stayed at the nursing home. His attorney told the jury that the decedent should have been repositioned every 2 hours or every hour that he was seated in a chair.
The decedent was discharged from Pine Creek without his heels ever being checked. The nursing home gave no instructions to the family to be on the lookout for pressure ulcers on his heels. When two home health nurses checked the decedent, they found “two enormous pressure ulcers on [the decedent’s] heels. One of his feet had turned black. The decedent eventually died two weeks later. During that period, he had to live with a painful pressure ulcer on his right heel. He couldn’t walk or share a bed with his wife and ultimately, the infection caused by the pressure sore cost him his life.
Pressure ulcer injuries in nursing homes remain a major source of trouble for patients. Patients need to be rotated in order to ensure that they do not develop bed sores from remaining in one position for too long. When they do, they can develop serious infections that often turn fatal as was the case in the story mentioned above.
Talk to an Oakland, CA Nursing Home Negligence Attorney Today
The Oakland nursing home abuse attorneys at Venardi Zurada represent the interests of patients who have been injured by neglect and understaffing. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your case right away.