Real Examples of Neglect

These Walton Law Firm clients are real stories of neglect, abuse, and malpractice by nursing homes and other care providers.

ALZHEIMER'S RESIDENT WANDERS AWAY AND FALLS DOWN STAIRS
Eunice was a resident of a San Diego assisted living facility that promoted itself as specializing in "memory care."  At 88, Eunice suffered from fairly advanced Alzheimer's disease, but her general health was good and she walked well with a walker. She was known to try and leave the facility. Despite this knowledge, Eunice walked out of the facility's rear door unnoticed one day, and down a long walkway toward a concrete stairwell. The courtyard contained all kinds of hazards, but most dangerous was the stairwell. Because of her illness, Eunice was unable to negotiate the stairs, falling down them, and fracturing her arm, hip and leg. She survived, but required surgery and rehabilitation. Walton Law Firm brought an action for failing to adequately watch Eunice, but also for maintaining a property that was dangerous for residents with Alzheimer's disease.

INADEQUATE ASSESSMENT AFTER FALL
Marilyn was an 82-year-old resident of an assisted living facility, where she was placed by her family due to worsening Alzheimer's disease. She was considered a high fall risk, and the facility assured the family it would implement fall precautions. After only 10 days in the facility, Marilyn fell and fractured her hip, but untrained caregivers failed to do an adequate post-fall assessment, or call a physician.  Marilyn laid in her bed for four days, in pain, before treatment was obtained. She died less than a week after being taken to the hospital.

TAILBONE PARTIALLY REMOVED BECAUSE OF BED SORE
A 76-year-old woman was accepted by a board and care facility with small bed sores on her coccyx and heel.  Over the next 12 days, the skin ulcers worsened dramatically, but no competent medical care was provided.  When the woman got a fever and was transferred to a nearby hospital, doctors were stunned.  Her coccyx wound was so bad that it exposed her tailbone, which was infected.  Surgery was performed to debride the wound, and part of the tailbone was removed.  The patient's condition continued to deteriorate and she died three months later.

NURSING HOME RESIDENT PUNCHED IN FACE BY NURSE
A 76-year-old nursing home resident with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, and who is non-communicative, was punched in the face by a registered nurse who was frustrated with the resident.  The resident, who was resisting care, suffered a large black eye and saw a dramatic decline in mental function after the battery.

HIP FRACTURE AND BRAIN INJURY AFTER MULTIPLE FALLS
An 82-year-old resident of a Southern California nursing home suffered nine falls while residing in the home, one fall causing a severely fractured hip, and another a subdural hematoma. The victim alleges that the staff never answered the call cord button when she needed help to use the restroom, and that she was forced to try to ambulate to the bathroom on her own.

LEG AMPUTATED AFTER HEEL WOUND GOES UNTREATED
A 57-year-old nursing home resident developed a heel ulcer that went untreated for a period of six weeks.  Despite nurse notes that said the wound was responding to treatment, the heel sore grew from 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm to 8 cm x 11 cm, and became black, necrotic, and smelly. Once discovered, the resident was transferred to a local hospital where his leg was amputated above the knee. In the litigation, it was discovered that the nursing home altered medical records to make it appear that the wound had been treated.

PEG TUBE MALFUNCTION
A 45-year-old cerebral palsy patient suffered a massive infection when her PEG tube dislodged and entered her abdominal cavity. Caregivers failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of a misplaced tube, and fed the patient multiple times. She survived, but suffered permanent injuries, including permanent dependence on a ventilator.

PRESSURE ULCERS, DEHYDRATION, AND PHONY RECORDS
An 86-year-old man arrived at the emergency room from a nursing home with multiple bed sores all over his back and on his heels, and with severe dehydration. He died less than 30 days later of an infection related to his condition. Records from the nursing home repeatedly claim the resident had "clear" skin, even an exam conducted on the date of his transfer to the hospital.

VENTILATOR ALARMS, NO ONE RESPONDS
An 81-year-old resident of a sub-acute hospital died when her the tracheostomy tube on her ventilator became dislodged and sounded several alarms.  Discovery revealed that staff had lowered the hallway alarm to volume levels so low no one could hear the alarm sound.  In addition, no nurse was at the nurses’ station to see the light board alarm.  The resident was found dead by her daughter nearly an hour after the tube was dislodged.

BED RAIL STRANGULATION
A 91-year-old resident was found dead in the room of her assisted living facility after becoming entrapped in her bed rail.  She was suspended by the neck from the half-length bed rail on her bed. The staff at the facility was not adequately trained on the risks associated with bed rails, especially from those who suffer from memory impairment like Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

BEDSORE EXPOSES TAILBONE
A 90-year-old patient in a nursing home suffered excruciating pain as the result of the formation of several pressure ulcers, one of which was so large it exposed her tailbone. She died a short time later.

NEGLECT OF CATHETER CAUSES INFECTION
An 83-year-old resident of a skilled nursing facility died as a result of severe urospesis, which was contracted after the defendant facility failed to properly care for and cleanse her catheter.

RESIDENT ASSAULTED BY FELLOW RESIDENT
An otherwise healthy resident of a nursing home specializing in Alzheimer's care was attacked by a fellow resident, and thrown to the floor in a fit of rage. The victim suffered a severe hip fracture, and underwent surgery to repair the hip. His health declined steadily after the surgery, and he died within two months of the attack.

DEMENTIA PATIENT SUFFERS MULTIPLE FALLS
An 81-year-old resident of a residential care facility with advanced dementia fell three times in a short period of time. After the third fall, she became non-ambulatory, prompting a call to a physician. The physician examined the resident in bed, but failed to perform any testing to determine why she became non-ambulatory. The following week, after her health declined rapidly, the resident was sent to the hospital and diagnosed with a severely fractured hip. She died two weeks later.

FAILURE TO RECOGNIZE FRACTURED HIP
A 90-year-old patient suffered excruciating pain as the result of the formation of several pressure ulcers, one of which was so large it exposed her tailbone. She died a short time later.

RESIDENT DIES FROM NEGLECT
An 83-year-old resident of a skilled nursing facility died as a result of severe urosepsis, which was contracted after the defendant facility failed to properly care for and cleanse her catheter.

POORLY TRAINED STAFF DROPS 82 YEAR OLD
An 82-year-old resident of a residential care facility suffered a fractured femur after she was dropped by an untrained, inexperienced, unsupervised employee during what should have been a routine transfer from the toilet to her wheelchair.

RESIDENT FOUND WITH LIVE INSECTS IN EYES AND MOUTH
A 92-year-old man was rushed from a skilled nursing facility to a hospital where he was noted as suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, and severe muscle wasting. He was also noted as having live insect activity in his eyes and mouth. He died less than a week later.

FEEDING TUBE MISPLACEMENT
An 80-year-old resident of a nursing home died after nursing home staff attempted to change the resident's feeding tube in the facility. Caregivers didn't realize that the original feeding tube was placed only a few days before the attempted change, so when the original tube was removed, the stomach moved back to its original position. When the caregiver inserted the new tube, it did not enter the stomach. Attempts to feed the resident caused feeding material to enter the resident's abdominal cavity, not his stomach, causing a massive infection.

THYROID MEDICATION WITHHELD FOR 26 DAYS
An 87-year-old resident of a skilled nursing facility died after the nursing home failed to administer her thyroid medication over a period of 26 days.

NURSING HOME FAILS TO TREAT PRESSURE ULCER
An elderly woman was residing in an assisted living facility when she developed a large pressure sore on her coccyx. Instead of transferring the resident to a hospital for wound treatment, the facility attempted to treat it in-house. The wound became infected and the resident died.

IN HOME CAREGIVER IGNORES RISK OF HARM
The son of a 93-year-old woman contracted with a geriatric in-home care company for his mother to receive assistance with her daily needs in the comfort of her own home. On the fourth day of service, defendant sent an untrained, unskilled employee to assist plaintiff and allowed her to fall and suffer a broken hip.

DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED ADULT ABUSED
After enduring several months of physical abuse while a resident of a state-run disability center, a 31-year-old developmentally disabled adult male, was killed by a significant blow to the abdomen. An examination of the body determined that the fatal blow was likely intentional and was ruled a homicide.  No arrest was ever made.

NURSING FACILITY IGNORES FALL RISK
An 87-year-old skilled nursing facility resident died after the facility's nursing staff failed to care plan for the patient's well-documented "high risk" status for falls.

OVERMEDICATED RESIDENT FALLS AND FRACTURES HIP
A 94-year-old man who was over-medicated fell while residing in a residential care facility. He sustained a severely broken hip and shoulder and died before doctors could operate.


MASSIVE WEIGHT LOSS KILLS RESIDENT
A 78-year-old resident of a skilled nursing facility died after losing 25 pounds over a period of seven days while at the facility.