Do I have a case against the nursing home?

Asked over 1 year ago - Colorado Springs, CO

My Mom was an Alzheimer's patient at a local NH. She has had a history of falls there-one time she broke her wrist. She fell and broke her hip in 12-12 and needed surgery to fix it. That time it wasn't until a day later that an x-ray was taken. A month later she fell again and broke her femur which also required surgery. Sadly, she never recovered and passed away in February. The coroner's report states her death was due to complications of the hip fracture.

My question is that even though they had her as a high fall risk no preventative measures where taken. She had ace bandages on her legs because of swelling that was due to cellutitis that the NH never treated properly(they never said it was-the ER doc did during the first fall) The bandages made it hard for her to walk.

Additional information

When she broke her hip they never assessed her until the next day and was told that it was a failure of communication-the RN in the unit thought the DON had accessed her and visa versa. It happened in the afternoon so I'm wondering how no one noticed until the next morning that she had a broken hip. The NH DON and higher ups made a lot of excuses.

Oh , and then there was the swollen legs before the accident. The NH staff kept telling us it was edema and had these compression things on her legs so the swelling went down but it never did.(They were like that for about 6 months) When she was in the ER for the hip fracture the doctor said it was cellulitis when he looked at her and prescribed IV antibiotics and her legs were better within days. She had such a hard time walking with them on and we wonder if they didn't contribute to her fall. She also tested positive for a UTI-the NH never checked her for that.

Attorney answers (9)

  1. Christopher Daniel Leroi

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    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Take this case to the Legal Center for People with Disabilities in Denver on Sherman Street first. I used to work for their Salt Lake City office and they provide free legal advice and representation in cases like this.

    This will be a difficult personal injury/medical malpractice case. Talk with several attorney in the Springs area after talking with the Legal Center.

    The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in... more
  2. Ian A. Scharg

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    Answered . You need to get all of the medical records and go consult an Nursing Home Abuse attorney ASAP. Your attorney will need to consult an expert to determine liability.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Ian A. Scharg
    555 Capitol Mall, Suite 770
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    916-444-8240

    Elder Abuse. Fraud. Class Actions

    This is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This is not legal advice, it is... more
  3. Kenneth Lee LaBore

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    Answered . I am sorry for your loss. This seems like a case of preventable neglect to me. I recommend that you consult with a local personal injury attorney who has experience in handling nursing home abuse and neglect cases. The nursing home should have taken interventions to protect your mother from what were predictable falls.

    You can find a qualified attorney in AVVO.

    Good luck.

    AVVO DISCLAIMER I am licensed in Minnesota only and my answers on Avvo assume Minnesota law. The answers I... more
  4. Matthew C Simon

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    Answered . Based on the limited facts, its uncertain if you have a viable claim. You should get all of the medical records and bring them along with the coroner's report to an experienced personal injury attorney. This will likely be a very complicated matter which involves experts. Good luck.

    The above is general information only and is not legal advice. The information provided does not form an attorney-... more
  5. Jason Todd Studinski

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . I am sorry for your loss.

    Yes. You have a potential claim. Despite what you hear elsewhere, falls and the injuries that result are often a cause of death. There are a variety of articles published on the subject that establish a clear link between falls, injuries, and death.

    Falls are also well known risks that nursing homes have to plan for, prevent, and be held responsible for if they occur. From the information you provide this sounds like a strong potential case.

    I have a variety of information posted on my website at www.studinskilaw.com that you may find helpful.. My firm consults on and handles nursing home abuse and neglect cases nationwide. I wish you all the best with your case.

  6. Christian K. Lassen II

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    Answered . Sounds like a very viable nursing home negligence claim, so have a local lawyer investigate.

  7. Marian S. Rosen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 6

    Answered . Sincere condolences on the loss of your Mother.
    You raise many issues of negligence:
    1-Your Mother was a fall risk, having fallen on at least two prior occasions and having sustained fractures. The Nursing Home should have taken appropriate precautions, which they obviously did not do.
    2-She had cellulitis, which went un- treated.
    3-She had a UTI, which was not diagnosed or treated.
    You have the Coroner's Report, which states "her death was due to complications of the hip fracture"
    Mother suffered the hip fracture in 12/12 , the fractured femur in 1/13 (you stated it was one month later) and then she died in February 2013. In the elderly, complications from fractures followed by their demise happens quite often.
    You should immediately contact an attorney who specializes in Nursing Home neglect-you will need to secure Nursing Home and Hospital records.
    They will want to review a copy of the Coroner's Report and the death certificate.
    You should not delay as Colorado has a Statute of Limitations within which you must take action.
    You are well within that time frame.
    My Mother sustained a fracture at a Nursing Home (which is why I became involved in Nursing Home litigation).
    Although our office is in Houston, I am licensed to practice law in Colorado.
    I would be very pleased to talk to you and answer your questions more thoroughly.

    My answering this question does not mean that I am your attorney. This post is intended to provide some helpful... more
  8. Kevin M Garrison

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . If an assessment was done putting her in the category of high risk for falls then absolutely preventative measures should have been put in place. Very likely the fall and fractured hip was a factor in her death. Sounds like you have a good case.

  9. Michael Brevda

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Sounds like she was a fall risk. When a resident is deemed a fall risk, preventative measures (bed alarms, restraints, frequent supervision, low bed etc.) must be put in place. If the subsequent falls were preventable, it sounds like you have a viable wrongful death case against the nursing home.

    Please feel free to contact me for more information and good luck.

    Michael
    mjb@acallforjustice.com

    Nothing in this answer is to be interpreted as legal advice. I would need more facts to fully assess your case.

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