Recently, a Massachusetts jury delivered one of the largest verdicts in state history to a family who lost their loved one after a nursing home failed to provide adequate care for her during her final years. According to a report by the Boston Globe, the nursing home, which is located in Danvers, provided grossly negligent care resulting in the woman’s death.
Evidently, the woman was taken to the hospital when she fell out of her wheelchair. Upon being examined by ER doctors, the woman was found to have an open pressure sore on her back, acute appendicitis, a severe urinary tract infection that had invaded her blood stream, kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, and severe dehydration.
Doctors did their best to treat the woman. However, she died one month after she was admitted to the hospital. The family of the woman brought suit, claiming that the home’s gross negligence in failing to properly care for their relative caused her death. The woman’s family recounts times that they expressed their concern over their loved one’s health but were told by nursing home employees that nothing was wrong.
A jury agreed, awarding a total of $14 million. Just under $1.5 million of the award was for economic and non-economic damages, while the remainder was in punitive damages.
Punitive damages are designed to “punish” certain behavior and to deter similar behavior by other actors. Punitive damages are usually far greater than economic or non-economic damages, since it is their sole purpose to send a message rather than to compensate someone for injuries or losses.
Indeed, the son of the woman in the story above said the following about the award: “That is the only way to send a message, or to punish people, and somebody in that business certainly needs to look at it with a more serious manner than just as a big money-making business.”
Punitive damages are not especially common in nursing home cases, but neither are the facts of this case. Here, a woman suffered for an unknown number of months from numerous serious, life-threatening conditions before she was diagnosed. This kind of care is unacceptable and is far below the standard that is expected of a nursing home facility.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a Maryland Nursing Home?
If you recently lost a loved one too soon in a Maryland nursing home, and you believe that it was the fault of the employees of the home, you may be entitled to monetary damages to help compensate you for your loss and your loved one’s suffering. However, keep in mind that nursing homes and their attorneys are accustomed to these kinds of claims, and are well versed in the law. Therefore, it is best to secure the assistance of a dedicated Maryland nursing home attorney before you bring your case forward. To speak to an attorney about your case, click here, or call 410-654-3600 today.
See More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Cites Nursing Home for Inadequate Care and Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 14, 2014.
Staffing Shortage May Have Been Responsible for Boy’s Death at Maryland Group Home, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 28, 2014.