California Nursing Home Neglect Case Ends with $9.9 Million Jury Award

A California nursing home neglect case can come in many forms. The most common situation involves a senior resident who begins living in a facility and develops health problems caused by substandard care. In many of these cases it is the family members of the victim who notice the problem, have suspicions about negligent care, and then contact a California nursing home abuse attorney to initiate the legal action. However, with a growing array of at-home care arrangements, many lawsuits now stem from poor care provided in different assisted-living contexts.

For example, Outpatient Surgery News reported this weekend on the latest actions in a Southern California negligence case against a nursing home chain that provided at-home assistance to a disabled resident. The victim in the case was only 24 years old when she underwent surgery to implant a spinal cord stimulator to reduce pain cause by a previous ankle injury. Several months later she underwent a second surgery to reposition the device. nurse.jpg

Following these procedures she required at-home nursing care to aid in her recovery. As is common in these cases, the young woman hired a nurse employed by a nursing home firm to provide that necessary assistance. The worker was supposed to visit the woman twice a day for the first week after her surgery. Specifically, the nurse was needed to hook up a morphine pump at the designated intervals. Unfortunately, the care worker was unfamiliar with the processes of using the pumping mechanism. She mistakenly activated the device six times within the first four hours of use, causing it to lock out.

A few hours later the victim’s mother called 911 after being unable to rouse her sleeping daughter. Emergency responders arrived and administered a morphine reversal agent after finding her unconscious. The young woman was eventually diagnosed with hypoxic encephalopathy caused by the morphine drip error. She suffered a permanent brain injury likely necessitating around the clock care for the rest of her life.

Following the tragedy the family of the young woman initiated a California nursing home lawsuit on her behalf. They sought to hold the company which employed the nurse liable for the debilitating injuries caused by her negligence. Upon hearing the evidence in the case the jury eventually awarded the victim $9.9 million to cover the necessary medical care for the rest of her life. A California appeals court recently upheld the decision last week.

Our San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer understands the variety of contexts in which care workers can cause harm to those who depend on them. Large nursing home conglomerates often operate in a variety of areas, beyond simply running traditional live-in care facilities for seniors. No patient or nursing home resident should be harmed because of the negligence of those paid to provide for their well-being. Whether the negligence occurs in a traditional nursing home, at the victim’s own home, or anywhere in between, the law exists to protect residents from substandard treatment. Unfortunately, some of these large companies focus too many resources on maximizing their profits and not enough on ensuring the proper quality of the services they provide. All victims of poor care should remember that the legal system exists specifically to hold these facilities accountable for placing profits over patients.

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