Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are responsible for the care and safety of their residents. Unfortunately, facilities sometimes fail to properly implement care plans, adequately train their staff, and neglect to keep residents safe. Such is the case with one of our clients, Christine, who fell out of bed and hit her head during a bed linen change. She died from her injuries. A Dekalb County jury recently awarded the family $1.8 million for their loved one’s pain and suffering from the negligent care she received at Grace Healthcare in Tucker, GA.

BBGA attorney Evan Jones along with co-counsel Michael A. Prieto, William F. Holbert, and Jonathan Marigliano of Prieto, Marigliano, Holbert & Prieto, LLC, Atlanta, represented the family during the trial.

Avoidable Fall Causes Traumatic Brain Injury, Premature Death

Christine, 70-years-old, was a resident of Grace Healthcare in Tucker for a little more than three years when the incident happened. She suffered from vascular dementia due to multiple strokes, hypertension, epilepsy and diabetes. The nursing home was responsible for our client’s skilled nursing care and total assistance for her daily living.

In 2015 a certified nursing assistant (CNA) attempted to change Christine’s bed linens while she was still in the bed. During the linen change, our client rolled out of bed and hit her head. She cried out in pain and developed a large bruise and was bleeding. Christine was transported by ambulance to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. Four days later she was discharged from the hospital and admitted to hospice care. Christine could no longer communicate with her loved ones and died 32 days after the fall. 

The standard of care for nursing homes requires at least two CNAs during a bed linen change. Grace Healthcare of Tucker also has a policy in place that requires at least two CNAs for a bed change, but staff at the facility failed to properly follow procedure.

Pain and Suffering in Elderly Patients Matters

Throughout the 3-year litigation process the defendants denied responsibility, but on the first day of the trial, they finally did. The defense basically said they were sorry they dropped her, and she developed a traumatic brain injury, but they didn’t cause her death.

“One of the most interesting aspects about this case is what an elderly woman’s pain and suffering is worth considering she likely only had a short time to live,” Jones said. “I believe the jury in this case answered that question. Their pain and suffering does matter.”

While no amount of money will change the circumstances that took Christine from her family, we’re proud to have represented Christine’s family and gratified the jury held Grace Healthcare responsible for its neglect. We hope this verdict sends a message to all nursing homes and long-term care facilities – that juries will hold them accountable.

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