December 11, 2009
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305-670-1101 Ext. 123
OMAHA, Neb. – Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial attorneys Edward C. Prieto (Miami, FL), and Peter J. Molinelli; with Matt Rusch of Erickson & Sederstrom (Omaha, NE) assisting in the defense as local counsel, obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a regionally managed assisted living facility on claims of wrongful death and negligence. The case was tried before the District Court of Douglas County Nebraska, where the Estate claimed the resident was inappropriately admitted and retained in an assisted living facility.
On July 10, 2004, the decedent, an 85-year-old female, was admitted into the assisted facility after a two week stay at a skilled nursing facility and a hospital visit a few weeks earlier for a gastrointestinal bleed. The family of the decedent was looking for a facility where both the decedent and her husband of over 30 years could live together. Although the decedent did need some skilled care, the assisted living facility accepted the decedent for admission and home health care was arranged to provide skilled care pursuant to the Nebraska regulations for assisted living facilities. Shortly after her admission to the facility the decedent developed pressure sores to her coccyx and her right and left heels. A home health care agency was brought in by the family to treat the pressure sores and despite the care provided the wound on the coccyx continued to progress until it eventually became a Stage IV.
Due to a history of cachexia and malnutrition problems, the decedent lost 10 pounds over her 59-day stay at the assisted living facility and also experienced consistent pain due to hip replacement surgery and a history of arthritis. Because of the growing health complications with the decedent, the assisted living facility recommended to the family that the decedent be transferred to a skilled nursing facility. On September 7, 2004, the decedent left the assisted living facility and was admitted to the hospital with complaints of weakness and dehydration. Upon discharge from the hospital she was admitted to a skilled nursing facility where she stayed until November 2, 2004 when she died. The cause of death was listed by her treating physician as congestive heart failure.
During the course of the trial, the Defense argued that the decedent’s initial admission to an assisted living setting was appropriate despite her need for additional skilled care, because home health was arranged by the family pursuant to Nebraska regulations. In addition, the family and the treating physician approved of the decedent being admitted to the facility. Not once during the entire residency was there any documented evidence that the family, treating physician or home health care had any issue with the care being provided by the facility.
The case was tried over a two-week period. The jury deliberated for six hours and came back with a complete defense verdict as to both the negligence and wrongful death claims.
Quintairos,Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is a Florida-based law firm providing legal services to corporations, government entities and individuals in the areas of commercial and civil litigation. With six offices throughout the State including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee, and attorneys licensed in several states including the U.S. Virgin Islands.