Morrison Mahoney Partner Joe Flanagan and Associate Amy Parker obtained a defense verdict in a nursing home malpractice case after a two-week trial in Suffolk Superior Court.
The plaintiff’s decedent was initially admitted to our client’s nursing home as a short term rehabilitation resident, but she then suffered a fractured hip in an “unattended fall,” allegedly as a result of the nursing home’s negligence. She went on to develop a decubitus ulcer on her coccyx, which progressed from a stage 1 to stage 4 wound over the ensuing five months. After the wound became infected, the decedent was transported to the hospital where her records documented a contaminated wound that was covered in dressing that “looked like it hadn’t been changed in a while.” The patient, who was the mother of eight grown children, died of sepsis two weeks later. The hospital’s physician who specialized in infectious diseases attributed the sepsis to the wound infection, which we disputed.
Joe and Amy argued that the patient was at a high risk for pressure sores, and the wound’s progression was unpreventable due to the decedent’s declining health (end stage renal disease and diabetes), and not because of poor care. The defense was complicated by the fact that the nursing home had closed four years ago, several important records (including skin care and repositioning records) were missing, and some key employees, including the Director of Nursing, were uncooperative.