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87-year old female found unresponsive in nursing home

Type of Injury: Death
Type of Case: Nursing Home Care Act
Settlement Amount: $125,000.00

(Nursing Home Care Act). On January 22, 2004, F-87 was admitted to residency at The Renaissance at South Shore. The Renaissance is a 248-bed facility that was licensed and classified to provide skilled care. Based upon her periodic Minimum Data Set Full Assessment Forms, Plaintiff was totally dependent upon the staff at The Renaissance for her mobility, transfer, dressing, etc. needs through the time of her injury (7/13/04) and subsequent death (7/14/04). At all relevant periods of time through the date of incident, Plaintiff was receiving Anticoagulants (blood thinners) for therapeutic reasons wherein her range was sub-therapeutic to therapeutic.

At all times relevant, side rails were to be used with Plaintiff to prevent injury or falls from her bed. On July 5, 2004, Plaintiff was found on the floor of her room and, thereafter, was not taken to a hospital for medical assessment and/or CT scan. Specifically, the nursing note states “[r]esident trying to get out of bed said to have slid to the floor. Helped back to bed. Assessment made. No injuries noted.” No mention was made whether side rails were in place or, if not, how she allegedly “slid” to the floor. This gravity mediated event was unwitnessed.

On July 13, 2004, for a time preceding approximately 6:40 a.m., Plaintiff was, according to the Renaissance at South Shore nursing notes and deposition testimony, monitored while in her room. At or after approximately 6:40 a.m., Plaintiff was found unresponsive in the dining room of the Renaissance. Defendant has failed to produce any witness who admits to either changing Plaintiff into clothes, transferring her to a wheelchair, or transporting her to the dining room. Defendant disclosed the names of the four (4) night-shift CNAs. There was no evidence that any of those CNAs recall any of the alleged events of 7/13/04.

After being found in the dining room, Plaintiff was found to have “High Critical” blood sugar and was, thereafter, transported, via ambulance, to South Shore Hospital. A CT scan of Plaintiff’s brain revealed a large subdural hematoma on the left side and intracerebral hematoma on the left side with marked edema and midline shift toward the right side. Additionally, there appeared to be signs of a partial resolving subdural hematoma anteriorly. There were no external signs of trauma documented.

Plaintiff’s nursing home expert, Matthew Luger, stated that due to the defendant’s failure to monitor and/or protect its resident, Gazzell sustained trauma.

Plaintiff’s physician expert, Jonathan Edlow, MD, who practices emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, stated that (a) Plaintiff’s “partial resolving subdural hematoma anteriorly” was due to trauma that occurred around July 5, 2004 (b) Plaintiff sustained a trauma to her head on July 13, 2004, while at Renaissance at South Shore (c) That in light of her age and Anticoagulant therapy, Plaintiff was at a higher risk of sustaining a subdural hematoma than a younger person not on Anticoagulant therapy (d) That in his experience it is it not unusual for residents like Plaintiff (advanced age and on Anticoagulant therapy) with subdural hematomas to not exhibit external signs of trauma (e) That as a proximate result of the trauma sustained at Renaissance at South Shore, Plaintiff suffered a subdural hematoma that resulted in brain damage and, eventually, death.

Defendant’s nursing care expert, Sue E. Meiner, RN, contended that the nursing staff, (RN, CNA, LPN, etc.) was not negligent and properly monitored and cared for Plaintiff. Further, Defendant’s neurology expert, Michael Rezak, MD, Ph.D, contended that there is no evidence that Plaintiff’s subdural hematomas were caused by trauma.

Injuries: Due to the alleged negligence of the defendant, the next-of-kin of Plaintiff sought compensation for their loss of society.

Specials: Medicals: N/A Lost Income: N/A Occupation: N/A

What Each Defendant Paid: The Renaissance at South Shore, Inc. ($125,000)

Insurance Company: Assurecare insured The Renaissance at South Shore, Inc.

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