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Asphyxiation by Waist Restraint

$700,000 – Elder Abuse

Facts

94-year-old was found dead, hanging from his waist restraint from the side of his bed.

MW was a vigorous 94-year-old when he entered Doe Convalescent Hospital. He enjoyed playing cards, working with wood and visits from his daughters. In the early morning hours of April 2nd, MW was found hanging by a waist restraint from the side of his bed at Doe Convalescent Hospital. Mr. W was dead. According to Mr. W’s roommate, both he and Mr. W had called for help for approximately 30-45 minutes prior to Mr. W’s death, but no one responded to their cries. His roommate could not reach the call button (which was routinely found out of reach of residents according to HCFA records). Their CNA was doing laundry because the facility didn’t maintain enough linens for its residents. Staff failed to monitor Mr. Wilder on a regular basis. The Medical Examiner found the cause of death to be “restrictive asphyxia by waist restraint after falling out of bed.”

Allegations/Contentions

The family of decedent alleged that defendants engaged in a pattern of conduct designed to maximize profits from their treatment of vulnerable elderly persons entrusted to their care, including Mr. W. Defendants engaged in a general pattern and practice in the numerous nursing homes owned and operated by them, including but not limited to Doe Convalescent Hospital, of failing to employ adequate staff, failing to purchase adequate supplies necessary to maintain the quality of care required by both state and federal regulations designed to protect this vulnerable segment of our society. This conduct on the part of Defendants culminated in the death of Mr. W.

Plaintiffs further contended that defendants’ conduct was the result of corporate-imposed budget constraints to maximize their profits and to allow the officers of the Defendants to receive large compensation. In fact, Defendants’ CEO/ED compensation plan was structured in such a way so as to specifically reward nursing home administrators for putting profit before care of their elderly residents.

Injuries/Damages

Emotional distress damages, wrongful death, enhanced remedies per the Elder Abuse statutes, funeral expenses.

Special Notes

Plaintiffs served a Statutory Offer to Compromise on October 5th for $450,000. This offer was rejected. Plaintiffs then were granted leave to amend the complaint to add punitive damages, and on November 8th made a demand for Defendants’ applicable policy limits of $1 million. The case was mediated before the Hon. Herbert Hoffman (retired) four days prior to trial and settled for $700,000.


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