(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this brain injury/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
Plaintiffs’ decedent suffered a stroke in 2001. She was hospitalized through February 19, 2002 when she was transferred to Defendant Nationwide Skilled Nursing Facility with orders that Posey restraints be used in view of the loss of use of one side of her body and confusion which could result in injury. Defendant chose to ignore the orders and on her first night in the SNF decedent got out of bed apparently not remembering that she could not walk normally, fell and hit her head.
A staff person for Defendant SNF heard her fall and eventually went to check on her. She was found on the floor with a bruise/abrasion on her forehead. She was anti-coagulated to prevent further strokes and presented a clear risk of developing a sub-dural hematoma, a la Chick Hearn of the L.A. Lakers. The facility chose to do nothing until she was checked at about 7:00 in the morning and pronounced good. Finally, at about noon, when she started to present with severe problems showing loss of mental facilities Defendant decided that she should be sent to the hospital to be checked out.
It was too late, the sub-dural hematoma had grown to the point where it was not operable by the time decedent arrived at the hospital. The barn door had been closed after the animals had escaped. Decedent was, however, a strong person and managed to hold on at home in a severely debilitated state through her death on April 25, 2002.
Defendant, in additional to technical arguments claims that the best that this situation is one of malpractice as opposed to Elder Abuse. Part of this argument is that the injuries were not egregious, i.e. Decedent did not die of infected bed sores, she just died two months later of blood on the brain and she was not left on a bedpan for 13 hours, she was just left in bed for 10 hours so that the hematoma could grow to the point where she was irretrievable. The argument is both callous and non-sense. It is no more than a thinly disguised attempt to state it is not abuse to mistreat once for a short time independent of the result. That is akin to arguing that it is not child abuse to hit one’s child in the head with a baseball bat once but it might be to do it repeatedly over a long period of time. (See Part 3 of 4.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.