The family of an 82-year-old female nursing home resident who inadvertently wandered into the room of an 84-year-old male resident who had dementia filed a lawsuit against the nursing home on March 3, 2017, alleging that the defendant nursing home failed to prevent the man from violently attacking the woman whom he believed was a man breaking into his home.
Both the woman and the man resided in the defendant nursing home’s dementia unit. The August 26, 2016 attack led to the woman suffering a left tension pneumothorax (collapsed lung) with subcutaneous emphysema (air trapped into the tissue under the skin), five fractured ribs, fractured neck, fracture of a vertebrae (bone) in the lumbar (lower back) spine, and facial bone fractures. The woman died in the hospital three days after she suffered the resident on resident attack.
The county prosecutor chose not to criminally charge the man because he lacked the capacity to form criminal intent in the attack and he also lacked the capacity to participate in a trial.
An investigation by New York State into the incident resulted in the defendant nursing home being fined $10,000 for four cited deficiencies, including the nursing home’s failure to ensure that each of its residents receives adequate supervision to prevent accidents. The amount of the fine was the maximum that could be assessed for a violation that directly results in serious resident harm.
The family’s nursing home negligence wrongful death lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages for the woman’s death.
The New York State Department of Health described the woman who was attacked as “an 82 year old female admitted on 8/10/15 with diagnoses including dementia with behavioral disturbance … the Closet Care Plan dated 8/26/16 revealed the resident wanders with approaches for staff to transfer the resident with supervision, ambulate with supervision to all destinations, and provide redirection and reassurance as needed … the comprehensive care plan (undated) revealed the resident was identified with an alteration in safety relating to poor safety awareness, history of wandering, and dementia. The care plan documented that the resident is known to wander in and out of rooms, sleep in other residents’ beds, and go underneath stop signs. Interventions include keeping the resident in “highly visible areas” and redirecting as indicated from other resident’s personal space. In addition, the care plan documented a plan to transfer with supervision and provide supervision with ambulation to all unit destinations.”
With regard to the attacker, the New York State Department of Health stated that he is “an 84 year old male admitted to the facility on 8/18/16 with diagnoses including altered mental status and advanced dementia … [he] had an altercation with another resident on 8/23/16 … per the hospital record [he] had the belief that a person who had moved in with him attacked him at night. The resident had a history in the facility of verbal and physical aggression towards staff, he had a previous resident to resident physical altercation when he felt his space was violated, and was careplanned for Q 15 minute checks.”
The investigation conducted by the New York State Department of Health concluded with regard to the incident: “Resident #1 and #2’s care plans were not followed which resulted in Resident #2 entering Resident #1’s personal space undetected. Resident #1 reacted violently to Resident #2 entering his space with the belief that a man was breaking into his house. Resident #2 died three days later from injuries sustained during the incident.”
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in the United States due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or resident on resident abuse, you should promptly contact a local nursing home claim attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers (nursing home claim lawyers) in your U.S. state who may assist you with your nursing home neglect claim, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.