Earlier this week a Palm Beach County, Florida jury reached a verdict of nearly $1.8 million in favor of the estate of a former pro-wrestler who died as a result of nursing home negligence on May 23, 2008. The 72-year-old nursing home resident had end-stage senile dementia and other medical problems when he was admitted into a local Florida nursing home. During the 63 days he was a resident at the nursing home, he lost 32 pounds and his ability to walk and to talk. He also developed decubitus ulcers (bedsores) on his heels and his tailbone during his nursing home stay that became infected and led to his death, according to the medical malpractice lawsuit.
The man’s family had continuously complained to the nursing home staff regarding the care that the man was receiving at the nursing home. The family was never advised regarding the man’s bedsores and a fall the man suffered from his wheelchair. The family was also not advised that the man’s dentures were lost (which may explain, in part, the large weight loss the man suffered during a short period of time). It was not until the man was transferred to another nursing home that the family became aware of many of the harms and indignities that the man had suffered while a resident of the defendant nursing home.
The jurors who decided the case heard hearing testimony from the man’s family and determined that the nursing home was at fault and ordered the nursing home to pay to the man’s estate almost $1.8 million in damages. A representative of the nursing home commented after the jury rendered its verdict that it is considering an appeal of the jury’s verdict, which it considered to be unfair, although it felt sympathy for the man’s family. The nursing home representative alleged that the man’s case was complex, involving many medical conditions, four separate nursing homes, and different doctors providing care to the man.
The man’s surviving family included his wife of almost fifty years and a son. They considered the jury’s verdict fair and that the amount of the verdict reflects that justice has been done.
This Florida nursing home case is a prime example of why civil juries in the United States are critical to obtaining justice for those who are the weakest and the most vulnerable and would not otherwise have a voice against wrongdoing and injustice. While there are state and federal laws, rules, and regulations that are supposed to protect vulnerable nursing home residents from negligent care, abuse, and mistreatment, we see time and again that nursing homes throughout the United States have either negligently or intentionally shirked their responsibilities and promises to their residents and the residents’ families, resulting in injuries, harms, and premature death.
The civil jury system’s strength as established by our founding-fathers is that it mandates that unbiased, community-residing individuals with no financial interest in the outcome of the matter before them come together as a jury of peers to hear and decide nursing home disputes and award substantial compensatory damages under the rule of law if and when the jury finds that the nursing home provided negligent, sub-standard, defective, or intentionally bad care to its residents, which verdict serves as an important (perhaps the most important) incentive to nursing homes to keep their promises to their residents who depend on the nursing homes to provide timely and appropriate care and services so that they maintain their dignity at this stage in their lives, and that they enjoy their most productive and beneficial lives in light of their individual circumstances.
On this annual day of Thanksgiving, we give thanks for our civil jury trial system in the United States that vigorously protects and serves the interests of all individuals, no matter how powerful or powerless, how wealthy or poor, how young or old, and whether healthy or dependent on the care of others, and righteously serves as the great equalizer for our citizenry.
If you or a loved one have been injured or suffered other harms as a result of nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or nursing home mistreatment in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly seek the assistance of a local medical malpractice attorney (nursing home attorney) to discuss your possible nursing home claim.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with nursing home claim lawyers in your state who may be willing to investigate your nursing home claim and represent you in a nursing home case, if appropriate, or call us toll-free at 800-295-3959.
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