September 24, 2009
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
(305) 670-1101 Ext. 1023
ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, a jury awarded Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial attorneys, Brian T. Bellavia and Robin N. Khanal, a defense verdict on behalf of a nationally managed skilled nursing facility on claims of wrongful death and violations of Chapter 400 – resident’s rights. The case was presented before the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Orange County in Orlando, Florida, where the Estate claimed the resident was inappropriately admitted and retained in the nursing home for approximately 16 days.
On December 12, 2002, the decedent, a 56-year-old male, underwent an elective total-hip replacement. Following a brief hospitalization, the decedent was discharged to a specialty rehabilitation hospital where he began to exhibit abhorrent behavior, including a continuous refusal to participate in physical therapy. As a result of the change in his condition, he was seen in consultation by a psychiatrist. The decedent was diagnosed with depression and personality disorders. Following the consultation, the attending physician ordered a discharge to a skilled nursing facility on December 20, 2002.
Upon admission to the skilled nursing facility, the abhorrent behaviors continued. The decedent’s family communicated with the nursing staff on Christmas Eve of 2002, and complained of a significant change in condition. The family was concerned with the decedent’s inability to recognize his immediate family. The family hired their own neuropsychiatrist who examined the decedent on December 30, 2002. After this consultation, the neuropsychiatrist strongly recommended the immediate transfer of the decedent to a specialty hospital. There was also a concern of an infection at the surgical wound site. The neuropsychiatrist documented there would be grave consequences if the decedent remained in the skilled nursing facility. The decedent remained in the skilled nursing facility despite this recommendation. On January 4, 2003, the decedent was transferred to the emergency room with an altered mental status and fever of 106.5 F. The decedent passed on the following morning of January 5, 2003. The cause of death was listed as septicemia of an unknown source.
Along with the skilled nursing facility, the Estate alleged medical negligence on the part of three doctors and an Orlando hospital. During the course of the trial, the Estate attempted to amend the Complaint to add a claim for vicarious liability of the attending physician at the skilled nursing facility. After briefed arguments, the judge denied the motion.
Prior to the commencement of the trial, the Estate made a final multi-million demand on all of the defendants. The case was tried over four weeks with 13 experts testifying on behalf of all of the parties. The jury deliberated for one hour and returned a complete defense verdict.
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