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NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE CLAIM SETTLES FOR $525,000

The patient was a 90-year-old long-time resident of the defendant-nursing home with a history of stroke, constipation and urinary tract infections and other conditions, including right-sided paralysis.

She was dependent on the nursing home staff for transfers and toileting and needed assistance with eating and drinking.

On Dec. 15, 2005, the patient was noted to have painful vaginal ulcerations which went unassessed and untreated, and a UTI, which was treated with antibiotics, according to the complaint.

The staff was not consistently monitoring the patient’s fluid intake and output, and she was being given two doses of laxatives and prunes each day, the plaintiff alleged.

Her doctor ordered that she receive extra fluids each day, but instead, the nursing staff decided to restrict her fluid intake, especially at night.

As of Dec.15, the patient had not had a documented bowel movement in several days. By Dec. 19, she was noted to be impacted and taking in less than 12 ounces of fluid per day, and by Christmas Day, the patient was only taking in 4 ounces of fluid per day and was reported to have had no food in several days.

By Dec. 26, the patient was complaining of abdominal pain. She was still getting laxatives and prunes twice a day. Her intake remained minimal.

During Dec. 27-28, the nursing staff noted 15 large bowel movements in the two days. Her intake remained minimal to non-existent.

The plaintiff’s experts stated that she should have been taking in at least 2,000 ccs (67 ounces) per day during those days and that the number of stools during the two days should have been considered an emergency.

The patient was found unresponsive on Dec. 29 and taken to the emergency department. On examination, she was found to be profoundly dehydrated.

When the nursing staff attempted to insert a urinary catheter, they found that she was vaginally fecally impacted.

The ER nurses stated that they had to irrigate her vagina and use 8-10 washcloths to try to get all of the dried, impacted fecal matter out of the patient’s vagina.

She died early the next morning of dehydration.

Type of action: Nursing home negligence

Injuries alleged: Vaginal fecal impaction, dehydration and death

Case name: Eudy v. Five Oaks Manor, LLC, et al.

Case number: 07-CVS-2666

Court: Cabarrus County Superior Court

Verdict or settlement: Settlement (mediation)

Name of mediator: Charlie Tompkins

Settlement date: Aug. 19, 2008

Amount: $525,000

Experts: Frances Eason, EdD (Greenville); Janet McKee, RD, MS, (Orlando, Fla.); Sherie Kemp-Bruce, RN (Wake Forest)

Plaintiff’s attorney: Elizabeth Todd Beall of Gugenheim Law (Raleigh)

© 2008 Lawyers Weekly Inc., All Rights Reserved

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