For Immediate Release
July 28, 2014
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305-670-1101 Ext. 123
QPWB ATTORNEYS DEMONSTRATE NURSING HOME ADHERED TO STANDARDS OF CARE ― JURY RETURNS
COMPLETE DEFENSE VERDICT IN $3 MILLION WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIM
Nursing Home Negligence / Wrongful Death
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial attorneys Robin N. Khanal and Michele D. Morales both partners in the Orlando office, obtained a defense verdict in a nursing home case. The plaintiff was seeking three million dollars in wrongful death damages. The allegations were based on the nursing home’s breach in the standard of care by providing the decedent, an 83-year-old nursing home resident, with a history of dysphagia and swallowing disorders, with a regular diet, when she should have received a mechanical soft diet. As a result of the improper diet, she choked to death. Plaintiff further claimed that the nursing home failed to obtain clarification orders from the physician despite being aware that her condition presented a choking risk. Moreover, the plaintiff alleged that the nursing home’s response to the choking incident fell below the standard of care. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that the nursing home failed to call 911 promptly, were slow to respond to the incident wasting life saving time to begin CPR, and negligently performed CPR. Finally, the plaintiff alleged that the nursing home engaged in a cover-up by not disclosing the circumstances of the choking event to the family and medical examiner.
In response, the defense argued that any alleged condition regarding the swallowing disorder resolved by the time of her last admission at the nursing home. As such, providing her with a regular diet was appropriate and consistent with the doctor’s orders. As such, they did not breach the standard of care in giving the resident a regular diet. Further, a CNA who was supervising and sitting at the resident’s table immediately notified the nurse of the change in the resident’s condition. The staff immediately sprang into action by attempting the Heimlich maneuver, calling 911, and continuing with CPR until the paramedics arrived. Finally, despite early appearances that the resident was choking, she actually died of a lethal arrhythmia, which is consistent with the medical examiner’s investigation.
In closing argument, the plaintiff passionately argued that due to the negligence of the nursing home, the resident died and her three surviving children should be awarded three million dollars for the acts of the nursing home. In the end, the jury found that the nursing home was not negligent in their treatment of the resident and returned a complete defense verdict after deliberating for only an hour and a half.