$400,000 Assisted Living Facility Medication Mistake Wrongful Death Settlement

Lawsuit against assisted living center for messing up medication

Assisted Living Medication Error Settlement of $400,000 for Wrongful Death

The assisted living attorneys at Senior Justice Law Firm were able to secure a $400,000 settlement for the wrongful death of Elaine D., who passed away due to the assisted living center’s failure to provide prescription medication to Elaine. Below we share the case facts and theories of liability in the claim against the assisted living center.

If your loved one was wrongfully harmed inside an ALF or nursing home because the facility failed to administer medication properly, contact our experienced and compassionate elder abuse lawyers today at 888-375-9998.

ALF Case Facts Leading Up to the Residency

Elaine D. was a retired widow, mother of two adult children, and an active member in her community. Overall, Elaine D. was a healthy and functioning 60-year-old adult. She followed a pescatarian diet and took daily walks through her neighborhood. Elaine D. did not need help with daily living tasks such as cooking, cleaning, or personal hygiene.

One day, the D. Family got a call from Elaine D. – she was short of breath and asking for cough medicine. The D. Family drove to Elaine D.’s home and found her coughing excessively and appearing lethargic. In fear she may have contracted COVID-19, the D. Family decided to take Elaine D. to the local hospital. Elaine D. tested negative for COVID-19 but was admitted for further testing. After 10 days, Elaine D. was diagnosed with stage 4 carcinoma of the lung and metastasis in the brain and spine.

Elaine D. Enters the Assisted Living Center for Assistance with Medication

The oncologist offered the D. Family two options regarding their mom’s care. The first option was to decline any treatment, giving Elaine D. a prognosis of 6 months to live. The second option was to have Elaine D. enter an assisted living facility to monitor her medication and overall health, giving Elaine D. a prognosis of at least 2 years to live. She considered both options and chose the assisted living facility. The D. Family conducted the initial consultation with their local assisted living facility over the phone to schedule Elaine D.’s admission date.

The Family D. packed Elaine D.’s personal belongings and transported her to the assisted living facility. The primary purpose of her admission to the assisted living center was the safe administration and monitoring of her medications.

Understaffing Becomes Apparent at the A.L.F.

The D. Family were confused when they arrived in the lobby with no receptionist at the front desk. Eventually, an unidentified medical staff member spotted the family and escorted them to Elaine D.’s room. The D. Family assisted in unpacking and left so Elaine D. could settle into her room. Elaine D. was left in her room unattended and unassisted for 24 hours. She called her family in a desperate attempt for help.

The D. Family returned to find Elaine D. in the same clothes as the night before. The D. Family brought her to the bathroom and noticed her urine was a dark brown color.  Staff was dismissive to the D. Family’s attempts to alert them of Elaine D.’s conditions. The assisted living facility failed to meet hygienic needs for Elaine D. Her body was unbathed, her teeth were unbrushed, and her laundry undone. When Elaine D.’s hair began to fall off her body, the assisted living facility allowed it to pile up in various areas of her room. Elaine D. was left her bed, day-after-day with no engagement from any staff or other residents. The facility was clearly understaffed and unable to provide care to the amount of residents that lived there.

Elaine’s Injuries at the Assisted Living Center Because of Missed Medication Doses

The D. Family went into the facility to visit with Elaine D. exactly 15 days into her stay. Elaine D. was in an obvious state of respiratory distress. The D. Family frantically searched for a nurse but were unable to find any staff members on the entire floor of the facility. The first person the D. Family could locate was the Director of Nursing.

The Director of Nursing evaluated Elaine D. and her medical charts. Shockingly, Elaine D. had missed all fifteen doses of her prescribed breathing treatments and MET inhibitors. The Director of Nursing apologized to the family and made statements such as, “The facility has been really busy,” “we cannot find enough quality staff” and “It’s been crazy the last couple of days.”

The assisted living facility did not have appropriate medical equipment to treat Elaine D.’s critical condition. The D. Family immediately had Elaine D. transported to the nearest hospital. Elaine D. was rushed into the emergency room and diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and an infected bedsore on her backside. Despite vigorous attempts made by hospital staff, Elaine D.’s health declined rapidly leading to her passing.

Analysis of Why the ALF Mismanaged Elaine’s Medication, Causing her Wrongful Death

When searching for a medical facility for your loved one, one of the most important things to evaluate is the staff to resident ratio. Understaffing in nursing facilities are known to contribute to accidental injury or death to residents. In the case of Elaine D., there were numerous signs of inadequate staffing.

There should always be a receptionist stationed at the front desk. Receptionists monitor who is allowed into and out of the facility and are vital in providing communication between family members and nursing staff. Assisted living facilities are also obligated to manage their residents’ personal hygiene. Poor hygiene indicates neglect. Further, a lack of cleanliness means much more than a violation of the resident’s dignity. Poor hygiene can directly cause health complications such as infections, delayed discovery and treatment of pressure ulcers, and overall psychological decline.

The D. Family were put in a situation where the only available staff member was the Director of Nursing. The Director of Nursing gave unacceptable excuses for Elaine D. not receiving proper medical supervision or medication management.

Ultimately, Elaine entered the ALF solely to manager her life-saving medication regiment. The facility failed to administer doses of some meds, while wholly failing to provide others.

A $400,00 Settlement for the Assisted Living’s Failure to Safely Manage Elaine’s Prescription Medication

Through expert witness physicians, our elder abuse attorneys were successful in linking this failure to administer medication to Elaine’s premature passing.

The D. Family contacted the Senior Justice Law Firm for justice for the wrongful death of Elaine D.

Senior Justice Law Firm provided legal representation to the D. Family and won Elaine D.’s case against the assisted living facility. This case resolved for $400,000. Hopefully, this large sum will dissuade the owners of the assisted living facility from creating bad policies that permitted this negligence to occur.

If your loved one suffered injuries or passed before their time while residing in a care facility, please report the incident to your local ombudsman office and seek legal counsel.  For a free consultation with the assisted living neglect attorneys Senior Justice Law Firm, call 888-375-9998.

*Names, dates, and locations have been altered to respect privacy 

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