$300,000 Settlement in Wrongful Death/Nursing Home Neglect Case

2020 Confidential Settlement

The deceased was an independent 79 year old gentleman with a complex medical history. The decedent was admitted to the defendant nursing home for skilled nursing after he suffered a fall into a stair railing at his home and fractured several ribs.

The evening he was admitted to the skilled nursing facility, the deceased complained of nausea, vomited twice before 9-10pm. The deceased’s vital signs documented at 10 pm showed a heart rate of 77 beats per minute.

At approximately 10:50pm the defendant nurse clocked in and thereafter performed rounds including checking the vital signs of the decedent at some time between 12:30am and 4:23am. The vital signs showed that the decedent had developed tachycardia with an elevated heart rate of 128 beats per minute. The defendant nurse failed to report the change in the deceased’s condition to the physician and further failed to appropriately monitor the decedent, including re-checking his vital signs, during the overnight shift.

Early the next morning at about 7:16 am, the decedent’s daughter arrived at the nursing home to bring clothing and other personal items to her father. Upon entering his room, the daughter found her father in the darkened room, unable to sit up, unable to speak, and with a terrified look on his face. The daughter ran to the nurse’s station for help and an emergency transfer to the hospital was called for.

According to the transfer sheet, at 6:25am the decedent’s diastolic blood pressure was critically low 111/30 and his pulse ox was only 89%.

According to the ambulance records, a call for a transfer was received at 7:23am, and at the ambulance’s arrival at 7:36am the decedent’s pulse ox was 90%, his pulse was 128, weak, and regular and his breathing rate was 30 per minute, labored, and irregular. 

After admission to the hospital the decedent was started on IV fluids and antibiotics for acute septic shock. The decedent died that afternoon of septic shock.

Plaintiff’s experts were prepared to testify that the defendant nurse was negligent in failing to re-check the vital signs of the decedent thirty minutes after she discovered his heart rate had risen 51 beats per minute and was negligent when she failed to alert the physician of the decedent’s deteriorating condition. Plaintiff’s expert was prepared to testify that the 4-8 hour delay in diagnosing the decedent’s deteriorating condition and septic shock was substantial contributing factor in the untimely death of the decedent and more likely than not had the decedent been transferred to the hospital 4-8 hours earlier he would have survived.

The case settled for $300 Thousand after a mediation session. The proceeds of the settlement were for the benefit of the decedent’s adult children.

Halstrom Law Offices, P.C. attorneys Frederic Halstrom and Ingrid Halstrom represented the plaintiff in this matter.