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Nursing Home Will Appeal Substantial Medical Negligence Verdict Awarded to Victim’s Family

A short term nursing home stay that turned deadly for an elderly Alzheimer’s patient resulted in a $91.5 million jury verdict in favor of the victim’s family. Now Bloomberg is reporting that the facility that caused the resident’s dehydration death, HCR ManorCare nursing home, plans to appeal.

The victim’s son filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of his mother, who died of dehydration and renal failure just three weeks after entering the Charleston, West Virginia care facility. The 87-year-old’s son made the difficult decision to admit his mother to the nursing home after realizing that he could not provide the level of care and attention that she needed. Her stay was intended to be short-term, until space opened at another facility specializing in Alzheimer patient care.

Sadly, the woman did not make it out of the facility alive. Shortly after she was admitted into the negligent nursing home, her medical condition began to deteriorate. Soon she was no longer able to walk and talk, and lost more than a dozen pounds in a matter of weeks. She could no longer recognize family members as her stay progressed, and it appeared that basic needs such as food, water, and proper grooming were not being met. When it became obvious that the woman was severely dehydrated, she was taken to a local hospital and died that same day.

In addition to the horrific substandard care the woman received at ManorCare that ultimately led to her death, trial testimony revealed that even staff members refused to tolerate an overall poor level of care at the facility. The staff turnover rate was approximately 112% in 2009, the year the victim entered the facility. Some staff members recognized the problems right away and left during an orientation meeting. Several nursing home workers who stayed testified that they were physically incapable of providing quality care because they were so overworked and understaffed.

After hearing about the chronic negligence happening at the nursing home, which contributed to the Alzheimer patient’s rapid decline and death, the jury spent just two hours deliberating before returning a $91.5 million verdict in favor of the victim and her family. ManorCare nursing home officials now say they intend to appeal, although they did not specify on what grounds.

Our experienced Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers know that life-threatening conditions such as dehydration occur when nursing homes and other care facilities do not provide residents with enough fluids or food to meet their basic nutritional needs. This level of negligence is simply unacceptable. Like many states, West Virginia allows the families of injured nursing home residents to receive both punitive and compensatory damages when a serious injury or death occurs. These damages compensate for past and future medical expenses as well as the pain and suffering the nursing home victim was forced to endure. They also send a message that nursing home neglect and abuse cannot be tolerated. Our Chicago nursing home lawyers have represented many families who trusted their loved ones to the care of a nursing home and suffered tragic consequences, and we understand the importance of holding irresponsible facilities accountable.